The potential of medical devices recycling

Hospitals use a lot of single-use PVC-based medical devices every day. Besides being safe and affordable, PVC is easily recyclable and keeps its technical properties through numerous recycling cycles. Also, many of the devices are used on non-infectious patients. These advantages have led to the set-up of medical devices recycling systems in the healthcare sector. In Australia and New Zealand, around 130 hospitals collect IV bags, face masks and oxygen tubing for recycling. The scheme is run by the Vinyl Council of Australia with support from medical device manufacturer Baxter. The recyclate, which is of high-grade quality, is used to manufacture mats, hoses and other useful products. In the UK collection and recycling is done through the RecoMed pilot scheme, which is supported by VinylPlus®.

PVC recovery in Australia & New Zealand

Around 130 hospitals collect PVC medical devices for recycling into useful products. Learn more about the programme in the video.

RecoMed PVC take-back scheme

Learn more about the UK pilot programme for collection and recycling of PVC medical devices

Medical devices recycling saves money and environment

The potential for medical devices recycling is huge. It has been estimated that a hospital with 300 beds could easily recycle 2.5 tonnes of medical devices each year. By recycling medical devices, hospitals can contribute to substantial carbon and energy savings: Every kilo of recycled PVC replaces the same amount on the market. For each kilo of PVC recycled, 2 kilos of PVC are saved. Recycled PVC’s primary energy demand is up to 90% lower than virgin PVC production. At the same time hospitals can save money on waste management by sorting out devices for collection and recycling rather than sending them to costly incineration.

For each kilo of PVC recycled, 2 kilos of PVC are saved