Baxter Healthcare has announced a record 142 tonnes of waste was recycled last year as part of the national 'PVC Recycling in Hospitals' program.
The program is an initiative of the Vinyl Council of Australia that is sponsored by Baxter Healthcare. It aims to recycle Australian-made intravenous (IV) fluid bags.
Baxter is Australia’s largest supplier of IV fluids to local hospitals.
The recycling program was launched in Victoria in 2013 and has now expanded to 223 hospitals across Australia.
Victoria recorded the most hospitals in the recycling program with 96 taking part, followed by NSW with 43 and Queensland 36.
New South Wales recorded the largest increase in uptake and the highest number of home dialysis patients in the program, with 357 NSW patients now taking part, while Queensland recorded the largest increase in dialysis patients joining the program in 2019 (55 new patients).
The local sustainability program collects PVC waste including Australian-made IV bags and tubing from hospitals to recycle into new products.
Baxter said a typical 300-bed hospital has the potential to recycle about 2.5 tonnes of PVC every year - enough to make approximately 20 kilometres of garden hose.
The program also includes the collection and recycling of empty dialysis fluids bags from the homes of patients on peritoneal dialysis treatment.
According to Steven Flynn, Baxter's general manager for Australia and New Zealand, state procurement policies supporting Australian made medical products and local recycling are helping to create local jobs in advanced manufacturing and a more sustainable healthcare system.
“As Australia’s only local manufacturer of IV fluids, Baxter is committed to local innovation to create a more secure and sustainable medical supply chain,” said Mr Flynn.
“We’re proud to see Governments and hospitals across Australia join this important local recycling program, led by dedicated nursing staff and hospital sustainability officers.
“Government procurement policies that support Australian Made products and local recycling initiatives deliver long-term value to our healthcare system and the environment.”