With RecoMed, it’s easy for hospitals to recycle single use medical devices. We take care of all the collection infrastructure and logistics needed, so that day-to-day running of the scheme is simple and straightforward.
Analysis of plastic waste and procurement data at a large NHS hospital in 2015 shows over 7 tonnes of PVC masks and tubing could be available for recycling each year. Estimates suggest that a 300 bed hospital could easily divert 2.5 tonnes of PVC a year.
Membership of the RecoMed scheme is £500 annually for the first hospital in the Trust or group to join. For each additional hospital there’s an additional fee of £200 per year. Membership includes 10 collections within the group.
Participating hospitals will receive quarterly (or on request) updates on the amount of material processed and detailed, timely feedback on presented material quality to aid with on-going training.
Tailored training and guidance
Every hospital is different and the way in which RecoMed is implemented will rely on a close partnership with the waste team and the clinicians. The RecoMed Team works closely with all parties to help make implementation as smooth as possible.
We source pedal bins to fit with individual hospital specifications relating to size and design to comply with hospital equipment policies. The only specification from our side is that the bins need to look different from other bins, to avoid confusion with other clinical waste streams.
For the collection containers that store full bags awaiting collection, we use Euro pallet crates. We can supply either weatherproof, wooden lidded crates or cardboard lidded crates, depending on whether the waste yard is open or covered.
Collecting the devices
RecoMed collections fit in with standard hospital processes
Here’s what happens in a typical hospital:
- Clinical staff put used elective surgery devices into bin bags in RecoMed bins (removing non-PVC elements such as strapping and connectors).
- When a bag is full, it’s taken to the ward level bin store.
- From the ward level store, a porter takes the bag to a RecoMed collection container in the hospital waste bay.
- When the container is full, the waste team call RecoMed to ask for a collection.
- RecoMed arrange the collection (which may be with the hospital’s normal waste contractor).
- The waste contractor takes the full container, leaves an empty one, and provides a waste transfer note.
What happens to the devices after collection
Once the devices leave the hospital, they go to a reprocessing centre to be hand-sorted. This way, any non-PVC items can be identified and removed. It’s important that no non-PVC items are sent on to the next stage, as this would mean we’d need to pay extra sorting costs.
The PVC is then shredded, melted down, and made into new products including new vinyl flooring which can be recycled again and again.
We provide regular updates to the hospital on the amount of masks and PVC diverted from clinical waste.