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Displacing single use medical textiles with more effective, economic and sustainable alternatives.

Name and role of Project Lead

Dr Tom Dawson, Founder and CEO, Revolution-Zero

About Revolution-Zero

Revolution-ZERO has two projects funded by SBRI Healthcare. The first is developing a resilient, sustainable and reusable solution to displace single-use surgical textiles from operating theatres.

30-40 years ago, the NHS reprocessed their in-house stock of sterile surgical drapes, gowns and other operating theatre garments (textiles) with support from commercial suppliers. However recent years and the PPE shortages experienced during the Coronavirus pandemic, have highlighted long-standing issues with disposable medical textiles relating to supply chain resilience, quality control, monetary and environmental costs. Revolution-ZERO uses modern approaches and quality assurance processes to empower the NHS to have increased control over its textile supply chain, quality, costs and environmental impact.

Universal adoption of Revolution-ZERO across NHS UK surgical pathways would result in financial benefits of £50 million in direct cost savings. The environmental benefits include at least 100,000 tonnes of carbon, 4 billion litres of water and 25,000 tonnes of waste related savings equating to more than £33 million. The emissions savings are equivalent to 0.4% of the NHS total and Revolution-ZERO plan to tackle a further 1.6% of total healthcare emissions and scale up the offering into other countries and territories. The second project focuses on removing the requirement for high temperature decontamination of medical textiles through validation, assurance and control.

The need to heat water for washing is a barrier to net zero. Heating generates 60% of the CO2e emissions from healthcare laundry costing >£40 million and 268,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions per year for the UK. The environmental cost of heating water for medical textile washing is contributing 2% of direct hospital carbon emissions (Kellera et al., 2021).

Revolution-ZERO have developed a healthcare decontamination process using low temperature washing that meets all regulatory requirements, and a validation process that can be adopted and utilised by NHS and independent laundries.

The direct impact of switching to use of low temperature washing for sterile surgical gowns and drapes alone equates to 17,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions across the UK NHS per year.

In cutting emissions Revolution-ZERO are mitigating the negative impacts of climate change on inequalities, and are utilising local supply chains, stimulating employment. Fabric lasts longer which lowers costs, reduces cycles and reduces microfibre shedding.

Revolution-ZERO's work also provides direct clinical benefit, with the more effective removal of contaminants from healthcare textiles decreasing the likelihood of biofilm generation, improving safety for patients and staff.


  • State-of-the-art cleanroom decontamination facility built delivering sterile surgical textiles for large joint replacement operations
  • Advanced procurement discussions with 8 NHS Trusts/Boards. On the National Procurement Framework and full certification as a B Corp
  • 7 jobs created
  • Bupa eco-Disruptive Circular Economy Partnership
  • Wider impact relating to the surgery textile project:
  • £1.1 million in investor funding
  • 3 pending patents, 40 registered designs and enhanced trademark protection, ISO13485 Certification pending and EN14065 Compliant
  • Wider impact relating to the low temperature project:
  • Co-development with UK supply partners of minimally impactful chemicals for healthcare laundry
  • Development partner for Danish Health Authority (tender won)
  • 2 pending patents and 5 registered designs

"Sustainability is extremely important and it’s great to see that there is a company making these reusable drapes that will reduce the carbon footprint of surgery."

Orthopaedic Registrar, St Michael’s Hospital, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

"I have really enjoyed the drapes and gowns. There is no difference. If anything, they are more comfortable and absorbent than the single use."

Orthopaedic Registrar, St Michael’s Hospital, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

Date published

February 2024


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