Tired of the waste disposable hospital gowns create, this Philadelphia scientist designed reusable alternatives


In the United states, hospitals produce almost 6 million tons of garbage each year. The pandemic hasn’t helped this already existing problem, globally, between late July and December 2020, volunteers collected more than 107,000 pieces of PPE from beaches and waterways, and this is likely a vast undercount of what was and remains out there.

Beau Wangtrakuldee felt it was time to do something about it, and now she’s changing the game with sustainable PPE.

The Philadelphia-based scientist and founder of protective clothing company, AmorSui, just announced the first zero waste PPE solution for hospitals and clinics.

AmorSui’s reusable Rebecca Crumpler Medical Gown. Photography courtesy of AmorSui.
AmorSui’s reusable Rebecca Crumpler Medical Gown. Photography courtesy of AmorSui.

“This new innovation focuses on ‘tech-enabled’ surgical gowns that are reusable and whose washing cycles are monitored by an app,” a press release from AmorSui’s PR company explains.

Currently, 80 percent of medical gowns used in U.S. hospitals are disposable. In order to switch to reusable gowns, hospitals and clinics are required to inspect for wear and tear before each laundering and establish a way to track the number of times a gown is used to ensure proper end-of-life disposal. Because the process is so tedious, most hospitals opt for the easier option that’s harsher for the environment.

Beau Wangtrakuldee, scientist and founder of AmorSui.
Beau Wangtrakuldee, scientist and founder of AmorSui.

“As opposed to doing it manually, we’ve digitialized the tracking process to make it easier to visualize and to help hospitals and clinics keep track of how many times a gown has been washed,” Wangtrakuldee says. AmorSui’s PPE management app offers training modules for staff to ensure proper use, wash tracking and repair services as well as usage analytics, reorder notifications, and two-step ordering.

Wangtrakuldee hopes to have 60,000 gowns distributed amongst east coast hospitals and clinics by the end of May.

After launching AmorSui in 2018, Wangtrakuldee’s mission ever since has been to provide fashionable protective wear that fits women properly. She was inspired to start her business after enduring a chemical burn that happened because of an ill-fitting lab coat. Afterward she was determined to make women in STEM feel more seen and protected.

While her company’s products are fashionable, they’re also chemical resistant, fire resistant and antimicrobial. The Rebecca Crumpler Medical Gown, named after the first African American woman physician in the U.S., is engineered to be washed up to 150 times.

True to AmorSui’s brand, the line of gowns is named after Rebecca Crumpler, the first Black female physician in the U.S.

“Coming from my own background as a woman scientist, I recognize that not enough women in STEM and healthcare who are recognized for their accomplishments, so as part of our brand it’s really important to us highlight accomplishments, diversity, and women who have accomplished greatness in their own way,” Wangtrakuldee says.

The Rebecca Crumpler gown is size-inclusive, offering XS-XL compared to the typical one-size-fits-all nature of disposable surgical gowns, and it’s made of  eco-friendly fabrics and processes that emit no toxic waste or harmful chemicals to the environment.

Wangtrakuldee admits that getting hospitals to switch to a more sustainable mindset has been difficult, but she is hopeful that healthcare facilities will take the path of sustainability.

“We believe in our mission, we do believe we offer something really different,” Wangtrakuldee says. “I started this business not thinking about making money first, but  actually making an impact in the community. We’re here to make things happen for the greater good and that’s what we stand for.”

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