In great news for Western Health, we have been named a health finalist in the prestigious Premiers Sustainability Awards 2016.
We have been nominated in the Health category, due to our wide range of programs and stellar efforts in environmental sustainability – some of which have led to a 35 per cent drop in the amount of waste we sends to landfill each year.
Western Health has slashed the amount of plastic waste it sends to landfill by pioneering recycling programs that turn medical plastic into furniture and garden hoses.
Anaesthetist Dr Forbes McGain created the PVC Recovery in Hospitals Program – which has since been rolled out in 55 healthcare settings around the world – because he was concerned about the amount of plastic hospital items thrown into the rubbish.
He collaborated with the Vinyl Council of Australia to develop the PVC recycling program, which collects high grade, clear plastic hospital items such as used facemasks, oxygen tubing and irrigation bags for intravenous fluids to be recycled into agricultural hosing.
We have also teamed up with a Laverton manufacturer to recycle soft plastics used in medical packaging into products such as furniture, bollards and speed humps.
Four recycled bench seats made from plastic packaging and blue polypropylene sterile wrap previously used to package new theatre gowns and medical equipment have been since been installed at Sunshine Hospital.
Sustainability officer Catherine O’Shea, we have piloted and rolled out more than a dozen recycling programs over the past five years.
She said critical care services – operating theatres, intensive care units, day patient units and cardiac labs – produced about 20 per cent of Western Health’s hospital waste, including plastic waste. Staff in these services helped to recycle six tonnes of wrapping and soft plastics each year.