The unique PVC Recovery in Hospitals program initiated by the Vinyl Council of Australia now covers more than 25 hospitals in Australia with trials to begin soon in hospitals in New Zealand, the UK and Sweden.
The year-old program has already been cited by the international PVCMed Alliance as a pioneering effort in the recovery of PVC medical waste.
According to Vinyl Council Chief Executive, Sophi MacMillan, the results of the program are a testament to the collaborative effort of various program partners, hospital staff engagement and use of education tools to take ownership of PVC recovery, which has also reduced the amount of waste reaching landfill.
The PVC Recovery program has been extremely successful in operation theatres, ICUs, recovery wards and dialysis units where higher volumes of PVC medical products are used. The program has been able to recycle over 15 tonnes of PVC medical waste in the past one year.
The Vinyl Council of Australia has now set an ambitious target to recover 300 tonnes of PVC medical product waste a year, which Ms MacMillan believes is achievable.
However, extending the program to more hospitals, especially in the regional areas is likely to face hurdles by way of finding efficient low cost transportation for the collection of waste. Internal freight expense can become an impacting factor in establishing commercially viable recycling systems as well as the ongoing success of the program.
Ms MacMillan says the Vinyl Council of Australia is engaging with waste and transport companies to find the best solutions in each State as it is important to ensure the recycled material stays local. The recovered PVC is being recycled into industrial tubing and matting products.