Bramhall, UK — RecoMed, the expanding PVC takeback scheme for medical devices, has won the Chartered Institute of Waste Management’s (CIWM) Sustainability and Resource Award for Best Recycling Project 2017. It’s the scheme’s fourth award since it was established in 2014. Having grown year-on-year, RecoMed now operates in 11 hospitals across the UK with more than 10 new ones currently in the process of implementing the scheme.
Run in partnership by Axion and the British Plastics Federation with funding from VinylPlus®, the voluntary sustainable development programme of the European PVC industry, RecoMed is the UK’s first PVC takeback scheme for single-use medical devices from hospitals. RecoMed saves participating hospitals money on disposal costs by putting devices into recycling containers for collection rather than sending them for incineration or specialist landfill. Uncontaminated items collected in the scheme include oxygen and anaesthetic masks, oxygen tubing and IV bags.
So far, the scheme has recycled over 5,000 kg of uncontaminated PVC (equivalent to over 150,000 masks), 2,800 kg of which has been collected this year alone. The collection of devices is all managed by RecoMed. Hospital staff contact the RecoMed team when they are ready for a collection and a logistics company is then organised to exchange the full pallet crates with empty crates. The material is transported to a specialised recycler where it is transformed into horticultural products such as tree ties.
Jane Gardner of Axion commented on the award: “The scheme has gone from strength to strength, with 2017 seeing an exponential increase in the volume of PVC medical device waste collected. We hope this award will help to further showcase the scheme’s sustainability goals and we are excited about growing the number of hospitals where it is implemented.”
BPF Senior Industrial Issues Executive Matt Davies stated: “RecoMed is flourishing and we are very proud that the scheme has won its fourth award. As it is implemented in more hospitals, even more valuable material can be recovered and put to good use in new applications.”
Brigitte Dero, VinylPlus General Manager added: “Looking at the successful results of RecoMed, we, as VinylPlus, are proud to fund this scheme since 2014. The RecoMed scheme is a concrete example of how PVC waste – in this case PVC used in medical applications – can be recovered safely and used in new applications. VinylPlus will continue to invest in the recycling of medical devices in the future.”