VinylPlus® Med Accelerates Sustainability in Healthcare

 

February 2020: VinylPlus® launches a new collaborative project called VinylPlus® Med. Aimed at accelerating sustainability in healthcare across Europe through the recycling of discarded single-use PVC medical devices, the project will bring together hospitals, waste managers, recyclers and the PVC industry.

COVID-19 has highlighted the crucial role played by single-use plastic medical devices in the prevention and control of infection in hospitals. The surge in the need of such disposable items has shed  light on the challenges of properly managing and discarding them after use. Properly sorting and recycling the non-infectious plastic waste can both significantly reduce the environmental impact of hospitals and their operational cost.

VinylPlus® Helps Hospitals Sort their PVC Medical Waste Stream

PVC is the most common plastic used in life-saving disposable medical devices including oxygen and anaesthetic masks, tubing, IV and dialysis bags. Many of these devices, used once with no contact with patients or in contact for a short period of time on non-infectious patients, can be recycled.

Building on the success of the VinylPlus-funded RecoMed recycling scheme, VinylPlus® Med is developing a recycling scheme for single-use PVC medical devices in Belgium to help hospitals sort their PVC medical waste stream. The scheme will focus on clean and REACH-compliant PVC waste that can be recycled into a wide range of value products marketed across Europe.  

In partnership with the Europe Hospitals, the high-quality PVC waste of three dialysis facilities will be first collected and recycled. Most of this waste has not been in contact with patients.

The project also partners with Raff Plastics as the recycler and will include waste companies based in Belgium . All Belgian VinylPlus® Med partners are located within a radius of 120 km, to minimise transport distances and thus mitigate carbon footprint. 

“In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, VinylPlus really wanted to help hospitals. After all, PVC is the most widely used plastic in healthcare. Most PVC medical waste is non-infectious and can be recycled when properly sorted and collected. We were keen to enhance PVC’s recyclability in this critical sector and are delighted to launch VinylPlus® Med. Starting with a pilot project in Belgium, we are excited to make medical plastics more circular together with our partners”– Brigitte Dero, VinylPlus Managing Director

A Decade of Medical PVC Recycling

Already today, PVC medical devices are recycled in eight countries around the world. It started in Australia in 2009 and has spread to over 200 hospitals and health clinics in New Zealand, UK, South Africa, Canada, Guatemala, Colombia and Thailand. The clean, high-grade recyclate is turned into useful products. In South Africa, IV bags become school shoes that enable education for impoverished children. In Australia, the recyclate is used for industrial and garden hoses and ergonomic mats that improve the work environment.  Read more about medical PVC recycling on at PVCMed Alliance.

Our Partners

The Europe Hospitals are a leading hospital group serving the city of Brussels and its surrounding areas. As a multilingual general hospital, we offer comprehensive care at our four sites: St-Elisabeth in Uccle, St-Michel in Etterbeek/European Quarter, the Bella Vita Medical Center in Waterloo and the External Consultation in Halle. Calling on the expertise of over 300 specialist physicians and 1,800 members of staff, we pride ourselves on providing highly personalised care to around 2,500 patients every day. From accurate diagnoses to the most advanced forms of treatment, we combine state-of-the-art medical technology with contemporary infrastructure to deliver high-quality dedicated care with highest safety standards and excellent comfort. For each and every patient. Every day.

 ‘At the Europe Hospitals, our focus so far has been on energy consumption with the goal to continuously reduce our cost and environmental footprint. Now we want to concentrate more on the efficient management of our plastic waste. Single-use plastic medical devices that we use everyday should be recycled. Our staff is motivated to enhance the sustainability performance of our healthcare facilities.  We all believe that it is our responsibility to save money as well as preserve resources and the environment.’ - Evelyn Vass, Operational Director, Europe Hospitals

Raff Plastics, being ISO 9001 and EucertPlast certified, has pioneered high-quality recycling of PVC in Belgium since 1981 and produces 50000 tonnes of plastic recyclate each year.

“For a recycling company such as RAFF Plastics, projects like VinylPlus® Med are important as we assume that everything starts with a good collection. There are unfortunately still many materials that could be recycled but, due to unfavourable circumstances, are sent to landfill or incineration. Such a project makes sure that everyone becomes aware and committed to working together to the renewal of raw materials.” - Caroline Van der Perre and Christophe Dehouck, Owners, Raff Plastics

For additional information, contact Vincent Stone, Project Leader, VinylPlus® Med