RecoMed wins National Recycling Award for medical PVC recycling

RecoMed, the PVC medical devices take-back scheme, is a joint winner of the Waste Prevention category of the 2017 National Recycling Awards for its innovative approach to sustainable healthcare recycling.

It’s yet another accolade – the third in two years – for the unique UK-wide scheme, which is run by project partners Axion Consulting, a resource recovery specialist, and the British Plastics Federation (BPF). Set up in 2014, RecoMed supplies recycling containers, communication materials and collections to participating NHS and private hospitals.

Funded by VinylPlus, the voluntary commitment to sustainable development by the European PVC industry, the scheme provides an alternative, sustainable disposal route for waste medical items made from high-quality medical grade PVC. This material has been recycled back into new goods, such as horticultural products, by specialist recyclers.

Collecting the award at a ceremony at the London Hilton, Park Lane on behalf of Axion and the BPF, Axion’s Principal Consultant Jane Gardner said: “We’re thrilled and very proud to win this high profile award, which recognises the tremendous achievements of all participants and hospitals in recycling plastics from the medical waste stream.

“Now operating in ten hospitals, RecoMed continues to grow and is attracting more and more interest. The scope for development is huge as the scheme could ultimately be replicated across Europe. We are particularly impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of clinicians without whom this scheme would not be possible,” she added.

Francisco Morcillo, Head of Public and Industrial Affairs at the BPF said: “RecoMed shows once again how PVC has come a long way when it comes to sustainability, becoming a guiding light for other materials. Not only PVC is a very cost-effective material with a great performance, it is also helping hospitals reducing their waste management costs whilst contributing to the principles of a circular economy.”

Praising the scheme, the judges commented: “This showed great initiative in changing behaviour in a sector that is notoriously difficult to establish effective waste segregation at source.”

The National Recycling Awards, organised by Materials Recycling World magazine, celebrate excellence, innovation and best practice across every aspect of waste management: recycling, recovery and reuse.

In 2016, RecoMed won the Sustainability category of the 2016 INOVYN Awards for its innovative approach to sustainable healthcare recycling. The previous year, RecoMed’s excellence in sustainability was recognised with the 2015 Association for Anaesthetic and Respiratory Device Suppliers (Barema) and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) Environment Award.

It is estimated that up to 2,250 tonnes of PVC could be recycled by collecting items, such as anaesthetic facemasks, oxygen masks and associated tubing, from UK hospitals. Participating hospitals save money on waste disposal costs by recycling non-infectious PVC medical items instead of sending them to clinical waste steams which are either incinerated or sent to specialist landfill sites.