Save the Environment One Bag at a Time
Caring for Patients and the Environment
The PVC Recycling In Hospitals program is a pioneering and innovative way for the healthcare system to reduce their impact on the environment. Western Health in Victoria was the first hospital in Australia to pilot PVC recycling after one of their anaesthetists noticed that too much plastic was being thrown away.
“This recycling program occurred to me when I spent a lot of my time chucking things away and watching other people throw things away,” says Forbes McGain, anaesthetist at Western Health. “And it was relatively easy to find people who agreed with me that we have got to do something about it.”
This unique recycling program has been a fantastic morale booster for staff, who care about the environment and are keen to bring their passion for recycling at home into the workplace.
“The impact of waste on healthcare is huge. And it’s very upsetting to some clinicians that care for the environment,” says Catherine O’Shea, Sustainability Officer at Western Health. “So the PVC recycling program really eases that tension for some clinicians. It makes them feel a lot better about their role in healthcare and their ability to make positive change in their workplace.”
New Zealand takes up the Challenge
Dunedin Hospital demonstrates that even without a formal environmental sustainability strategy, passionate staff and senior management support is all you need for PVC recycling success.
“I saw this as a great opportunity. It saves the environment and it’s a great thing to do so why wouldn’t we do it?” says Cherie McConville, Director of Performance at Southern District Health Board. “It actually helps build the evidence for an environmental strategy for our organisation.”
PVC recycling is now a part of everyday practice for hospital staff and is currently operating in 9 different clinical settings.
Can your Hospital Make a Difference?
The PVC Recycling In Hospitals program has now spread to over 90 hospital sites across Australia and New Zealand. An average 300 bed hospital can recycle up to 2.5 tonnes of quality PVC every year — enough to make up to 17 km of recycled garden hose or matting for 3 children’s playgrounds.
Implementation of the program is supported by the Vinyl Council of Australia and Baxter Healthcare. For more information and to register your interest, please visit:
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