Eliminate Waste and Help Camden’s Homeless

As the leading academic health care system and only Level 1 Trauma Center in South Jersey, Cooper providers perform dozens of surgical procedures every day. And it’s now participating in an initiative that reduces OR waste, has a positive impact on the environment and the health of our community, and helps the homeless at the same time.

Before a surgical procedure begins, the provider receives a set of sterilized instruments rolled in a large plastic wrap. Once inside the operating room (OR), the wrap is unrolled and the surgical instruments are removed and readied for the procedure. When the procedure is over, the surgical instruments are re-sterilized and eventually reused. Although the plastic wraps remain clean – they are removed from the OR prior to the procedure and do not come into contact with patients – they cannot be reused and must be placed in the trash. This results in thousands of surgical mats heading to a landfill every month.

Fortunately, a Los Angeles-based initiative called the du COeuR Project has identified a way to keep the surgical wraps out of landfills while also helping the homeless population. By sewing two surgical wraps together, volunteers are able to create dozens of bed rolls for the homeless. The rolls are durable and provide warmth and protection from the elements.

Inspired by the du COeuR Project’s success at eliminating waste and helping the homeless, Cooper’s Green Team has begun collecting surgical wraps that will be turned into bed rolls and donated to Cathedral Kitchen, who will distribute the mats to Camden’s homeless population.

While the Green Team has plenty of surgical wraps to work with, they are looking for volunteers to help create the bed rolls. The process is simple and requires minimal sewing skills and few materials. A video from the du COeuR Project, which you can watch here, provides step-by-step instructions.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Cerceo or Jennifer Garefino for additional information.