Baxter turns hospital waste into gumboots

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The intravenous (IV) fluids bag hanging next to your hospital bed could have a new life – as a garden hose or pair of Australian-made gumboots.

It is all part of a recycling program being led by Baxter Healthcare, which aims to reduce hospital waste. 

More than 142 tonnes of hospital waste was recycled last year as part of the national PVC Recycling in Hospitals program, aimed at recycling Baxter Australian-made IV fluid bags from hospitals.

General Manager for Baxter Australia and New Zealand, Steven Flynn, said supporting Australian-made medical products and local recycling was helping to create local jobs in advanced manufacturing, as well as a more sustainable healthcare system.

“Thank you to all our partners in private hospitals across Australia for helping to build a more sustainable healthcare system,” Mr Flynn said.

“As Australia’s only local manufacturer of IV fluids, Baxter is committed to local innovation to create a more secure and sustainable medical supply chain.”

A total of 223 hospitals, including 122 private hospitals across Australia, are now taking part in the program to divert PVC waste from landfill.

The sustainability program is a partnership between Baxter, the Vinyl Council of Australia and vinyl manufacturer Welvic to collect PVC waste such as intravenous IV bags, oxygen masks and tubing from hospitals to recycle into new products, including garden hose and Australian-made gumboots under a new partnership with Bata shoes in Victoria.

Mr Flynn said a typical 300-bed hospital had the potential to recycle about 2.5 tonnes of PVC every year – enough to make close to 20km of garden hose. And that now, during National Recycling Month, it was time to celebrate the progress that private hospitals were making to become cleaner and greener.

“We’re proud to see hospitals across Australia join this important local recycling program, led by dedicated nursing staff and hospital sustainability officers,” Mr Flynn said.

Baxter is also partnering with 48 private hospitals around Australia to collect and recycle empty aluminium bottles, which are used to store gas anaesthesia.

Baxter Healthcare is a Major Sponsor of APHA.

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