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Copper Salmon

Reusable Textiles: The Responsible Choice

Client and Objective:
The handling of medical waste is a serious issue for communities across the United States. Every year, 3.3 million tons of medical waste goes into landfills, while the incineration of medical waste is the nation’s single largest source of dioxin air pollution. This material includes doctor, nurse and patient gowns, wraps and diapers. These products can be washed, sterilized, and reused, and yet only 5% of these products are made from reusable material, while manufacturers of disposable textile products produce the other 95%. The American Reusable Textile Association, a national non-profit trade organization, wanted to increase the awareness of the benefits of reusable textiles. The goal was to convey to the audience that reusable textiles are safe, reliable, and economic; incorporate the latest technological advancements; and are the right choice for the environment. They chose Green Fire to refine the organization’s message, help define its target audience and produce two video programs for both the medical and long term health care markets.

Solution:
Green Fire developed a program with two versions, one to appeal to each target audience and market: medical facilities and long-term health care facilities. More specifically, Green Fire targeted those who make purchasing decisions at hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities, along with nurses and surgeons who have switched to using reusable textiles. Testimonies from experts from these fields were determined to communicate most effectively to those considering the use of reusables. The interviews spoke to the initial concerns people had about making such a change, and conveyed their satisfaction and confidence with the reusable products’ safety, reliability, cost, and environmental impact. An on-camera host led the audience through the decision-making process and spoke directly to viewers’ concerns.

Results:
ARTA members are using 500 copies of the programs across the U.S. and throughout Europe, at trade shows and with legislators in Washington, D.C., to bring home their message and elevate the issue so customers and legislators are now thinking about reusable textiles and incorporating them into their decision-making. The trade association representing the disposable textiles industry got a copy of the tapes and showed it at one of their membership meetings. That industry now takes the reusable textiles industry very seriously. The videos have boosted ARTA’s image and credibility, and are helping it combat the disposable companies’ marketing efforts.

"The programs effectively portray the reusable/disposable debate and people understand very quickly the benefits of reusable textiles. I would say that it has been valuable from a marketing standpoint to ‘pull’ reusable products into the system versus ‘pushing’ them into the market through direct sales. Credibility for reusable textiles has certainly been achieved through the use of the videos both for ARTA and our member companies. It used to be that the disposable industry was not even concerned with us. Today they take us very seriously. We knew you weren’t going to be working for one of our competitors tomorrow, and that’s important to us." — Brad Bushman, American Reusable Textiles Association.

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