The PVC Recycling in Hospitals program collects used PVC medical products for recycling into useful new products. In this section we provide you useful videos, newsletters and tools, facts about the program, list our participating hospitals and celebrate our partners. You can register to find out more and participate in the program too.
The PVC Recycling in Hospitals Program collects three specific medical products (IV bags, face masks and oxygen tubing) for recycling into useful new products. Initiated in Australia by the Vinyl Council in collaboration with staff at a metropolitan hospital, it is now operating in ~100 hospitals and healthcare facilities in Australia and New Zealand.
These PVC, or vinyl, medical products are readily recyclable due to the quality and transparency of the polymer and the large number of items in use daily. Over 50 million IV bags are consumed annually in Australia alone. Together with the face masks and tubing, at least 2,500 tonnes of locally recyclable material is available for collection and reprocessing.
A 300 bed hospital could easily recycle around 2.5 tonnes of these quality PVC products each year.
Plastics are a significant share of hospital general waste currently sent to landfill at a cost to the hospital, and PVC is the most commonly used polymer in medical products.
At the initiative of an Anaethetist, the PVC Recycling in Hospitals program started as a pilot program in 2009 at Western Health, Victoria. The Vinyl Council developed the program in collaboration with Western Health, and is proud to support its growth with members including Baxter Healthcare, Welvic Australia and transport companies and government agencies. It has grown to service ~100 hospitals, mostly in Victoria, New Zealand and Tasmania. In 2016 it won recognition with the Victorian Premier's Sustainability Awards for both VCA and participating hospital Melbourne Health, and enquiries continue to come from across Australia and the world.
Currently an average of 15 tonnes of PVC medical waste are reprocessed per month in Australia and the program continues to expand to other states with collections in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia starting in late 2016. The material is reprocessed by Welvic in Australia and MattaProducts in New Zealand, primarily used in new hoses for fire extinguishers, gardens and industry; and play and safety mats for children and workplaces.
Each tonne of recycled PVC will replace about one tonne of virgin PVC compound in new products, saving 80% energy, carbon emissions and resources of new products.
Want to start a PVC Recycling in Hospitals Program?
To see how it works, watch these videos:
For the latest news on the Program, download our recent newsletter:
Find out who else is recycling PVC in healthcare facilities - DOWNLOAD the list here
The Business Case for PVC Recycling for Management, prepared by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, April 2017.
The following booklet, training slides and videos have been designed to help hospitals set up and implement PVC Recycling in Hospitals effectively and efficiently.
The Vinyl Council of Australia in conjunction with Baxter Healthcare developed this 'how to" kit with support from program hospitals, NSW EPA, and Sustainability Victoria.
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Note: we updated the program logo in 2016 to reflect the fact the PVC material recovered is reprocessed locally for use in new products. The pupose of the program is - and has always been - to recycle material, not to recover waste from the healthcare sector for treatment prior to landfill as some other programs do, or to send it offshore for reprocessing. Our objective is to encourage local recycling to lower teh carbon footprint of local products and provide jobs. Some of our older communication and training materials may carry the original logo.