Reusing the Duck Bill is better for the environment

dont hurt

When a physician takes the Hippocratic Oath upon completion of a study, it ishead is nocere’ An important part of that. This means that the doctor “first of all will not harm the patient.” “But by changing the climate and polluting the environment, we are harming humanity — and therefore our patients, too,” says Jopke Janmaat, co-founder of CO2 Helpers.

An intern is a medical student in the last practical stage of study. With the creation of CO assistants, students want to ensure that more attention is paid to sustainability in the medical curriculum.


One way to reduce the environmental impact of care is to reuse materials. CO assistant Amber ten Buuren conducted a study on the effect (or better: Life cycle analysis) from “duck’s bill”, the medical instrument used in internal examination by a gynecologist. Metal versions of these are used, but also plastic ones, made from regular or biodegradable plastic.

Ten Buren: “Even after cleaning and reusing seven times, a metal speculum (official name, ed.) is better for the environment than a regular plastic speculum. A biodegradable duckbill is equivalent to reusing a metal tool 354 times. But because a metal tool easily lasts 500 times, They are the best option from an environmental point of view.”


Ten Buren agrees that reusing duckbills won’t make health care sustainable all at once, of course. “But it is one of the many initiatives to contribute to the various departments. It can also reduce the huge amount of waste from operating rooms.

“Ultimately, it’s about raising awareness, both among clinicians and patients. We believe that clinicians also have a responsibility to spread this sustainable message.”

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Megan Vasquez

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