Why Design for Recycling Matters in Healthcare and What You Can Do About It
In the United States, the typical operating room contributes 5.4 tons of medical waste to landfills each year, translating to costs of $5,234 per operating room, according to Practice Greenhealth’s 2015 Sustainability Benchmark Report. Approximately 25% of that medical waste is made up of plastic products and packaging. In fact, the standard protocol for a surgical device has followed the linear ‘make, take, dispose’ model for decades. It wasn’t until recently that this single-use preference was challenged by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation report The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics.
In The New Plastics Economy, discarded plastics would funnel back into the manufacturing process, reusing the material time and time again in a closed loop of innovation, as opposed to mining virgin resins for every new product. One step in this circular direction is to increase the recyclability of plastic products and packaging and in healthcare that starts with the medical device manufacturers.
HPRC is a private technical coalition of industry peers across healthcare, recycling and waste management industries seeking to improve recyclability of plastic products within healthcare. HPRC is made up of brand leading and globally recognized members including Baxter, BD, Cardinal Health, DuPont, Eastman Chemical Company, Halyard Health, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Ravago Manufacturing Americas and SABIC Innovative Plastics. The council convenes biannually at meetings hosted by an HPRC member that include facility tours to further learning and knowledge sharing opportunities through first-hand demonstration of best practices in sustainable product and packaging design and recycling processes. For more information, visit www.hprc.org.