VinylPlus, the voluntary commitment to sustainable development of the European PVC industry, has unveiled 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 brings together hospitals, waste managers, recyclers and the PVC industry.
Adequate sorting and recycling of non-infectious plastic waste can significantly reduce the environmental impact of hospitals and their operational costs. Building on the success of the VinylPlus-funded RecoMed recycling scheme of PVC masks and tubing, VinylPlus now launches VinylPlus® Med – a collaborative partnership to accelerate sustainability in European healthcare.
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 and for a short period of time on non-infectious patients, can be recycled. 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. “Starting with a pilot project in Belgium, we are excited to make medical plastics more circular together with our partners,” stated Brigitte Dero, Managing Director of VinylPlus.
In partnership with the Europe Hospitals, the high-quality PVC waste of three dialysis facilities will be collected and recycled. The project will also partner with Renewi as the waste manager and Raff Plastics as the recycler. All Belgian VinylPlus® Med partners are located within a radius of 120 km, to minimise transport distances and thus mitigate carbon footprint.
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. “Within this context, VinylPlus 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,” commented Brigitte Dero.
Evelyn Vass, Operational Director at the Europe Hospitals, commented “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. Our single-use plastic medical devices that we use every day 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.”