Closing the loop on medical waste

by MedicMall Admin


Hospitals produce tonnes of plastic waste each year, but Brisbane Day Surgery has joined a new recycling program aiming to make the Earth a greener place.

The hospital is working in partnership with circular economy specialist CircMed to provide a closed-loop solution to its output of single-use plastics and sterilisation wrap.

Simone Hamilton, CEO and Director of Nursing, said the clinic was focused on being more sustainable.

“We help around 7,000 patients a year which means for example, we use around 7,000 oxygen tubes, which is 7,000 plastic packets to open,” she said. 

“When we heard about CircMed we thought it was a brilliant initiative that solves a big problem we have in this industry with large volumes of single-use plastic and Kimguard wrap being sent to landfill. 

“This goes a long way to helping us achieve the goals of our practice, with impact far beyond our four walls.”

CircMed's Director Clinical Innovation, Danielle Munro, said she was excited to see Brisbane Day Surgery embracing the program.

“Plastic will always have a place in healthcare due to its unrivalled uses for supporting sterile environments and limiting infection control,” she said. 

“But what we at CircMed are doing is teaching our connectors that single-use items are okay to use but don’t have to end up in landfill – they can have a new life.

“Items like prep bottles, disposable curtains, kidney dishes, soft plastic packaging and more are clean waste and made from properties that we can sort, granulate, make resins and transform into new products.

“Studies have shown that up to 3.2 tonnes of greenhouse gases can be saved through each tonne of recycled plastic, compared to newly-produced plastic, so the impacts that our connectors are having to the environment are substantial.”

Before joining with CircMed, Brisbane Day Surgery was already recycling hard plastics with Brisbane City Council, recycling PVC, and recycling all its paper.

“This is just another way we can make a difference,” Ms Hamilton said.

“The CircMed program is all about sorting our waste correctly when we are disposing of it, and a range of items go back to CircMed instead of to landfill.

“Education on what we can and cannot recycle has been easy, as a CircMed educator clearly explained the grades of plastic and provided an education resource folder.

“Hopefully we can encourage others to go down this path – the medical industry generates devastating amounts of waste not only in usage, but also in the processes used to create consumables, so we are working to change that cycle and how things are produced. Buying power can affect the choices companies make.”


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