FMC nurses lead the charge on ‘war on waste’
In a South Australian first, 60 per cent of plastic and cardboard from Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) operating theatres is now saved from landfill.
“We’ve been able to save 1.5 Olympic swimming pools of landfill since we started this initiative in June last year, so it’s a great achievement not only for FMC, but also for South Australia,” said operating theatre nurse Darren Bradbrook, who has spearheaded the project at FMC.
“We’ve saved more than 52,000 intravenous irrigation fluid bags from landfill alone!”
The IV fluid bags, along with other ‘clean’ plastics from FMC, have been turned into useful products including garden hoses, flooring and kids’ play mats.
“With 2.5 tonnes of PVC, you can make 17.5 kilometres of garden hosing, 865 play mats and flooring for three children’s playgrounds – so it’s very inspiring.”
Over the 18 months, FMC’s operating theatres have been transformed into ‘green’ spaces with recycling bins for plastics, cardboard and paper.
Both low grade (IV packaging, face masks, clean preparation sticks, unused drapes, bottle lids and anaesthetic trays) and high grade plastics (splash bowls, kidney dishes, jugs and irrigation bottles) are now recycled.
Between June 20017 and October 2018 the low and high grade plastics were recycled into Processed Engineered Fuel, which was used by a local cement plant – in turn, decreasing the plant’s use of fossil fuel.
FMC’s operating theatres also recycle their aluminium canisters, the contents of which are used in anaesthetics. Since the program began, the hospital has saved 1,430 canisters from going to landfill.
Other departments within FMC are now also joining the war on waste. Radiology, endoscopy, Flinders Eye Centre, neonatal, intensive care, day surgery and the Emergency Department are all in various stages of implementing PVC and plastic recycling programs.
“It’s great to see our staff on the floor getting passionate about issues that are beneficial to the organisation – and the community,” said FMC Nursing Director, Lydia Belet.