About The Potential Of
PVC-Based Medical Device Recycling
Hospitals use a lot of single-use
PVC-based medical devices every day. Besides being safe and
affordable, PVC is easily recyclable and keeps its technical
properties through numerous recycling cycles. Also, many of the
devices are used on non-infectious patients. These advantages have
led to the set-up of medical devices recycling systems in the
In 2021, VinylPlus launched the
collaborative partnership VinylPlusŪ Med. Aimed at
accelerating sustainability in European healthcare through the
recycling of discarded single-use PVC medical devices, the project
brings together hospitals, waste managers, recyclers and the PVC
industry. The scheme will focus on clean and REACH-compliant PVC
waste that can be recycled into a wide range of value products
marketed across Europe. Belgium is chosen as pilot country.
Additional pilot programmes are underway in other European
Products are typically recycled
Some of the products that are
typically recycled in existing recycling schemes are Oxygen &
anaesthetic masks, Oxygen tubing , Dialysis bags ,IV bags
Why recycle medical devices?
Potential is huge . Studies show
that only a small fraction of the medical plastic waste is
infectious. By recycling medical devices both hospitals and the
Cost savings for hospitals
Hospitals can save money on waste
management by sorting out devices for collection and recycling
rather than sending them to costly incineration.
For each kilo of PVC recycled, 2
kilos of CO2 are saved.
Energy savings of up to 90% are
achieved when using recycled PVC instead of virgin PVC.
Safe collection & recycling
In existing PVC recycling schemes,
only devices used on pre-screened patients for elective surgery
are collected for recycling. The practice thus poses no greater
risk than recycling of used soda or drinking water bottles.
High grade recyclate
High grade PVC is used for medical
devices. The recyclate can be turned into a wide variety of useful
It has been calculated that a
300-bed hospital could recycle 2.5 tonnes/year of PVC oxygen masks
& tubing, IV bags and nasal cannulaes.
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