Though circular economy and resource efficiency have been on the agenda for years, recycling of medical devices has often been considered a no-go due to fear of contamination. Yet in Australia and New Zealand more than 150 hospitals collect and recycle PVC-based medical devices such as oxygen masks and tubing, IV bags and nasal cannulaes. And in the UK, more than 10 hospitals are part of the similar RecoMed scheme, funded by the European PVC industry’s sustainable development programme VinylPlus®.
In an interview with leading trade media PlasticsToday, PVCMed Project Manager Ole Grøndahl Hansen explains the challenges and opportunities of recycling plastics-based medical equipment – from staff involvement over practical issues such as sorting and collection to additives. Ole Grøndahl Hansen stresses the fact that it is often staff that wants to initiate recycling programmes in their hospitals: “As one hospital staff member states in a video posted by RecoMed, ‘staff already recycle at home, so it is a natural progression to do so at the workplace.’ Taking into account that tons of plastic waste are generated every day at hospitals, it is increasingly obvious for healthcare professionals that something must be done to make better use of these resources.”