Calvary Mater Newcastle

Calvary Mater Newcastle in NSW is leading the way with nurse led recycling initiative

More than 4000 kilograms of recyclable plastics including IV bags, face masks and oxygen tubing have been collected since a PVC Recycling Program was introduced at Calvary Mater Newcastle in the second half of 2018.

The nurse-led initiative has delivered environmental benefits by reducing the amount of recyclable material going to landfill, with an estimated saving of more than $1500 in waste being diverted from landfill.

The recycled high-grade PVC material is 100% reusable and is reprocessed into products including children’s play matting and surgical masks, which are donated to developing countries.

Calvary Mater Newcastle’s PVC recycling program is part of the PVC Recycling in Hospitals Program sponsored through the Vinyl Council of Australia. This program now operates in about 130 hospitals and healthcare facilities in Australia and New Zealand.

It was initially trialled in the hospital’s surgical and oncology wards and coronary care unit, and was later extended to other wards once implementation challenges were identified and resolved.

Education was provided to ward champions and staff on the program and its benefits, what could and could not be recycled and the critical importance of correctly sorting material so that the recycle bins were not contaminated with unusable products.

The program has been a great success:

  • Approximately 2700kg of recyclable PVC material was collected in its first year of operation, averaging about 225kg per month, and with no reported contamination.
  • After 19 months (to March 2020) 4143.5kg has been collected, averaging 219kg per month without any reported contaminates.