Healthcare industry has seen emerging trend of using disposable surgical instruments due to the rising costs and infection control. Environmental impacts have risen as a result across the life cycle of plastic or stainless steel disposables. Studies have been conducted across the globe to analyze the eco foot prints of different qualities and quantities of surgical instruments such as disposable scissors,disposable surgical blades and scalpels.

One such study being done on disposable scissors made of either stainless steel or fiber reinforced plastic were compared with reusable stainless steel scissors for 4,500 use cycles of surgical scissors used in Germany. A screening life cycle assessment (LCA) and a life cycle costing were performed by following ISO 14040 procedure and total cost of ownership (TCO) from a customer perspective, respectively. Subsequently, their results were used to conduct an eco-efficiency analysis. The impacts of the disposable steel product exceeds those of the two others by 80 % (disposable plastic scissors) and 99 % (reusable steel scissors), respectively. Differences in TCO were smaller, however, revealing significant economic advantages of the reusable stainless steel product under the constraints and assumptions of this case study. Accordingly, the reusable stainless steel product was revealed as the most eco-efficient choice. It was followed by the plastic scissors which turned out to be significantly more environmentally sound than the disposable stainless steel scissors but also more cost-intensive.