Auckland District Health Board is taking a leading role in reducing medical waste and redirecting non-hazardous plastic waste from landfill to recycling.
Medical waste is a significant issue for health systems around the world. Traditionally, non-hazardous, non-infectious waste has gone to landfill at a financial cost to the local health system and an environmental cost to the local ecosystem here in New Zealand.
Auckland District Health Board has partnered with Baxter Healthcare to become the first hospital in New Zealand to launch an innovative recycling programme. The aim is to reduce the amount of PVC (plastic) waste going to New Zealand landfill. New Zealand is only the second country in the world to have this type of programme.
The initiative includes recycling plastic tubing, oxygen masks and IV bags. The plastic collected is recycled in New Zealand to create playground outdoor matting. This is exported around the world.
The PVC recycling initiative was implemented in July 2016 and 1000 staff have been trained. It is expected to redirect 10 tonnes of hospital PVC waste from landfill to recycling every year.
Auckland District Health Board is a finalist in the Going Circular category of the 2017 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards.