RecoMed, the PVC takeback scheme for single-use medical devices, has launched its new website – www.recomed.co.uk – in response to rising interest from the healthcare sector in reducing and recycling plastic waste.
Set up in 2014, RecoMed provides an alternative, sustainable disposal route for waste medical items, such as oxygen masks and tubing, made from high-quality medical grade PVC. The new website contains all the information potential participants need, including how RecoMed works, case studies and latest news, which is also shared on Twitter via @RecoMedUK.
Currently 37 NHS and private hospitals are actively participating in the scheme across the UK – from Plymouth to Newcastle – with more set to join in the coming months. Run by Axion in partnership with the British Plastics Federation (BPF), RecoMed is funded by VinylPlus®, the voluntary sustainable development programme of the European PVC industry.
The first scheme of its kind in Europe, RecoMed coordinates every step in the recycling journey – from providing PVC collection bins in hospitals to delivering the shredded plastic to specialist recyclers where it is turned into horticultural products, such as tree-ties.
To date nearly 22.5 tonnes of PVC has been recycled – the equivalent of about 747,000 oxygen masks. The majority of this total, more than nine tonnes, was collected and recycled in 2019 alone.
Mick Claes, Senior Consultant at Axion and project leader for RecoMed says the new website is very timely, given the current ‘huge swell of public interest’ behind reducing plastic waste.
Welcoming the new website, he comments: “The scheme is growing, and we are seeing keen interest from healthcare professionals who are very aware of plastic waste generated through their procedures, such as anaesthetics for example.
“That’s why we have provided more detail on what RecoMed can accept, the benefits to participants and how to make the scheme a success in your hospital. People are used to recycling at home and they want to do this at work too.”
Around 8 million UK hospital procedures each year result in the disposal of single-use PVC masks and similar devices that could safely be recycled. These devices are currently sent to landfill or incineration, wasting resources and costing the NHS substantial sums in waste management.
Outlining future plans for RecoMed, Mick says partnerships with other healthcare sector stakeholders are being discussed to facilitate the rollout to more hospitals. He adds: “We are also looking to partner with other PVC product manufacturers and find new ‘circular’ applications for the recycled material. Our goal is simple: to increase medical PVC device recycling rates.”