Epworth & Baxter launch new recycling program

Epworth HealthCare and Baxter ANZ are joining forces to divert an estimated 12 tonnes of hospital waste from landfill each year, with Epworth Richmond the first hospital in Australia to recycle aluminium and PVC hospital products as part of a new sustainability program.

Baxter in partnership with the Vinyl Council of Australia (VCA) assists hospitals in the collection and recycling of Baxter intravenous (IV) fluids bags. This year Baxter expanded the Recycling in Hospitals program to aluminium bottles of its gas anaesthesia products.

Epworth’s hospitals across Victoria are expected to recycle about 3000 aluminium canisters and 80 cubic metres (enough to fill an operating theatre) of PVC products each year as part of the program.

Epworth theatre nurse Rebecca Pascoe heads a team of staff that drives the new sustainability initiatives at Epworth Richmond and works with Baxter to train Epworth staff on appropriate waste segregation.

“We use a lot of consumables in theatres and I see a lot of waste created which should be recycled”, Rebecca said. “I have always been passionate about sustainability and conservation of the environment, so it seemed natural to step up and improve our performance. I could see there was a massive gap and huge potential for us to be recycling more at Epworth Richmond."

“We just needed the resources and staff education to get started. There is still a lot of work to be done and many more opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint."  

Executive Director of Epworth Richmond, Nicole Waldron said: “Everyone at Epworth is supportive of the theatre team and this great initiative to reduce waste. Opportunities for further sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives are integral to our on-going operational processes and ultimately, to our continued success.”

The VCA launched the PVC Recycling in Hospitals initiative in 2009, with Baxter a major sponsor. The program is now in place across 100 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. High-quality PVC products including Baxter IV fluids, oxygen masks and oxygen tubing are collected and recycled in Australia. The PVC hospital waste is recycled in Australia and New Zealand where it is used to make garden hoses and outdoor playground matting.

In January, Epworth Richmond became the first hospital in Australia and New Zealand to expand the program to Baxter’s aluminium canisters of gas anaesthesia.

General Manager Baxter ANZ, Steven Flynn, said the PVC and aluminium recycling programs were a unique end-to-end solution to help its customers reduce medical waste and advance their sustainability credentials.

“Baxter’s commitment to sustainability is central to who we are and how we bring our mission to life,” Mr Flynn said.

“Hospitals across Australia and New Zealand are working to reduce their impact on the environment and the costs associated with managing non-hazardous medical waste. As a local manufacturer and leading healthcare company, we must continue to respond to our customers’ needs by advancing new products and services.  Baxter is proud to partner with Epworth Richmond to launch this new aluminium recycling program and further our commitment to developing safe and sustainable healthcare solutions.”