Australia: PVC Recycling in Hospitals

In Australia, currently an average of 15 tons of PVC medical waste are reprocessed per month and the PVC Recycling in Hospitals Program continues to expand to other states with collections starting in late 2016. The material is reprocessed in Australia and New Zealand, primarily used in new hoses for fire extinguishers, gardens and industry; and play as well as safety mats for children and workplaces.

According to the Vinyl Council of Australia, Australian hospitals produce 260,000 tons of waste per annum, and it is estimated that PVC medical products account for 5 to 10 percent of that. Over 50 million IV bags are consumed annually in Australia alone. Together with the face masks and tubing, at least 2,500 tons of locally recyclable material is available for collection and reprocessing.

The PVC Recycling in Hospitals Program collects three specific medical products (IV bags, face masks and oxygen tubing) for recycling into useful new products. Its target is to recycle around 2,000 tons per annum in Australia. At the initiative of an Anaethetist, the program started as a pilot project in 2009 at Western Health, Victoria; it was developed by the Vinyl Council in collaboration with the hospital. As reported, it has grown to service about 100 hospitals, mostly in Victoria, New Zealand and Tasmania.

Photo: A guide to recycling PVC medical product waste / Vinyl Council Australia

GR 22017