Surgical Team in OR

Genesys™ sustainable technologies

Introducing Genesys™ the first line of surgical drapes and waste bags developed with technology that enhances their ability to break down in landfills over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Genesys™ Sustainable Technology?
Genesys Sustainable Technology features an organic additive that is blended into the plastics during the manufacturing process and enables the ability of these to break down (Biodegrade) when disposed of in landfills.

2. What is Biodegradation?
Biodegradation is as the name implies; the process within which a material is degraded to the extent that it loses its original properties, strength, resiliency, etc. and eventually its original form as well –– all through the action of attacking naturally-occurring microorganisms such as bacteria. Biodegradation occurs in the presence (aerobic) or absence (anaerobic) of air.

3. How long will it take for these plastics products to biodegrade in landfills?
This will depend on many variables, including but not limited to, the conditions of the landfill composition of the plastic and sterilization method. ASTM D5511 tests performed on representative sterilized products have shown up to 35% degradation in 21 months.

4. What is ASTM D5511?
The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) D5511 is a Standard Test Method for determination Anaerobic Biodegradation of plastic materials under High Solid Anaerobic digestion conditions.

5. Are there any special storage requirements for these products? Is there any change in the shelf life?
No, there are not special storage requirements for these products, and the shelf life is not impacted and the product will not begin to degrade until it is in a landfill.

6. Is there any change to the functional properties or strength of these plastics?
No, the products have been tested and proven to perform as usual.

7. What happens if any fluids splash onto my drapes and bags, will these Genesys drapes begin to break down?
No, Genesys will only break down after disposal into a landfill environment. The actual break down time is measured in months. Incidental contact with fluids will not degrade the required product performance.

8. Can Genesys drapes be recycled?
Yes, follow your facility policies on waste management.

9. What is the significance of the California Notice mentioned?
The state of California restricts the use of the word Biodegradable or references to plastic materials breaking down and it is important to ensure this public notice is provided.

10. Does Ecolab have any test data validating the break down test results from Independent laboratories?
Yes, we will continue to update this site with additional testing updates as they are available.

11. Which Ecolab/Microtek products are parts of the Genesys line?
Banded Bags, C-Arm/Imaging Drapes, Microscope Drapes, and Surgical Waste Bags are available at this time. However, Ecolab is committed to continuously innovate in the area of sustainability and environmental stewardship.

12. Is this biodegradable/breakdown technology new?
While biodegradable technology is new to this application because of Genesys, it is being used regularly in other industries such as food packaging, apparel, and textiles.

13. What is a biologically active landfill?
The term is most closely associated with a landfill environment that is actively being managed to promote Biodegradation, most commonly in the interest of capturing off-gas for energy generation purposes but also more generally for compacting & for efficiency of daily Operations.

In reality, there is Biodegradation happening in virtually ALL landfills, exactly how much & how fast are the key questions. This is primarily determined by three things:

  • Type of landfill
  • Humidity conditions (commonly directly proportional to amount of rainfall) 
  • Temperature

Return to Genesys Home Page