UK recycling program for PVC-based medical devices racks up another award

RecoMed, the UK recycling program for PVC-based medical devices, has been named a joint winner in the Waste Prevention category of the 2017 National Recycling Awards for its innovative approach to sustainable healthcare recycling. It’s the third award in two years for the program that is run by project partners Axion Consulting, a resource recovery specialist based in Bramhall, UK, and the British Plastics Federation (BPF; London).

Established in 2014, RecoMed supplies recycling containers, communication materials and collections to participating hospitals. 


Axion Prinicpal Consultant Jane Gardner accepts the award, flanked by (left) Keith Riley, Director of BH Energy Gap and one of the judges, and entertainer Alistair McGowan.

Funded by VinylPlus, the voluntary commitment to sustainable development by the European PVC industry, RecoMed 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.

Currently operating in 10 hospitals, RecoMed continues to grow and is attracting more and more interest, according to the program partners. The judges commented: “This showed great initiative in changing behavior in a sector that is notoriously difficult to establish effective waste segregation at source.”

The National Recycling Awards, organized by Materials Recycling World magazine, celebrate excellence, innovation and best practice across every aspect of waste management.

In 2016, RecoMed won the sustainability category of the 2016 INOVYN Awards for its innovative approach to sustainable healthcare recycling, as reported in PlasticsToday. The previous year, RecoMed was recognized with the 2015 Association for Anaesthetic and Respiratory Device Suppliers and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland Environment Award.

It is estimated that up to 2,250 metric tons of PVC could be recycled by collecting items, such as anaesthetic face masks, 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 streams.

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