Cairns Hospital goes green with plastic recycling initiative

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Anaesthetist Dr Dan Lazzari says operating theatre staff have embraced the new recycling program at Cairns Hospital.

Anaesthetist Dr Dan Lazzari says operating theatre staff have embraced the new recycling program at Cairns Hospital.

More than 780,000 pieces of plastic weighing more than 3000kg has been diverted from landfill in the first four months of a new recycling initiative at Cairns Hospital.

Cairns Hospital has joined forces with CircMed - Circular Medical Solutions, a Brisbane-based group of companies specialising in the circular economy sector, including diverting healthcare plastics from landfill as part of a plastics recycling initiative.

The program is already in place in operating theatres at Cairns Hospital, with plans for it to be gradually rolled out across other clinical areas and facilities. It joins a number of projects underway to improve environmental sustainability across the Health Service.

Cairns Hospital anaesthetist Dr Dan Lazzari, who assisted with the CircMed program rollout in operating theatres, said staff had quickly adopted the new recycling initiative.

‘We see it over and again how we are throwing all this stuff out,’ Dr Lazzari said. ‘Most things are single use, so you see so much waste. Everyone has been really keen to get this going.’

Dr Lazzari said the beauty of the recycling initiative was that almost all types of plastics could be collected in the CircMed recycling bins.

‘Usually only certain sizes and types of plastics can be collected for recycling, which makes it really difficult to know what to put in the recycling bins. With CircMed all plastics can be collected, which makes it so easy.

‘Compliance with the recycling program is also really helped by staff knowing that the plastic is going to CircMed and actually being used to make new products, as opposed to being dumped in landfill when we think it’s getting recycled.’

CircMed Clinical Innovations Director Danielle Munro said she was excited to bring CircMed to Far North Queensland.

‘Cairns is the perfect place to launch our regional program and CHHHS has embraced this game-changing new way to upcycle so enthusiastically,’ she said.

‘Plastic will always have a place in healthcare due to its unrivalled uses for supporting sterile environments and limiting infection control. What we at CircMed are doing is teaching our connectors that single-use items are OK to use but don’t have to end up in landfill – they can have a new life.

‘Items like IV bottles, disposable curtains, kidney dishes, soft plastic packaging and more are clean waste and made from properties that we can sort, granulate, make resins and transform into new products.’