Bon Secours Volunteers Upcycle Single-use Surgical Wraps into Sleeping Bags

June 18, 2024 | Published by Julie Buchanan

A volunteer project to transform single-use surgical wraps into sleeping bags is keeping waste out of landfills while giving unhoused individuals a soft place to lay their heads.

The project was born a few years ago at Bon Secours Southern Virginia Medical Center in Emporia. Recently, volunteers with Richmond Bon Secours Medical Group and Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center have joined the effort to upcycle the material that otherwise would be discarded.

“It’s been exciting to see this grow across our market,” said Kathleen Ware, Hospital Administrator for Bon Secours Southern Virginia Medical Center. “It means the impact is so much greater than before.”

Hospitals use the wraps in the sterilization process for surgical equipment. It is sterile, heavy-duty, fire-retardant and moisture-resistant, making it ideal for bedding.

Volunteers work in an assembly-line style to assemble, pin and sew the sleeping bags. The bags are then provided to homeless shelters to distribute to people in need.

To give an idea of how much waste is being diverted, 370 pounds of surgical wrap was recently made into 22 sleeping bags.

“The shelters have expressed that the need is always there,” Ware said.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering may contact their local Bon Secours hospital facility.

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