Accelerating Sustainability in Belgian Healthcare

Vinyl Plus Med launches its pilot medical PVC recycling scheme in Belgium. The program aimes at accelerating sustainability in healthcare across Europe through the recycling of discarded single-use PVC medical devices.
Oxygen masks tubing (Source: Vinyl Plus)

Adequate sorting and recycling of non-infectious plastic waste can significantly reduce the environmental impact of hospitals and their operational costs. Building on the success of the Vinyl-Plus-funded Recomed recycling scheme of PVC masks and tubing, Vinyl Plus Med officially launches a pilot recycling scheme to accelerate sustainability in Belgian hospitals.

PVC is the most common plastic used in life-saving disposable medical devices including oxygen and anaesthetic masks, tubing, IV and dialysis bags. Many of these devices, used once and for a short period of time on non-infectious patients, can be recycled. Vinyl Plus Med is now ready to set up a recycling scheme for single-use PVC medical devices to help Belgian hospitals sort their PVC medical waste stream. The scheme will focus on clean and REACH-compliant PVC waste that can be recycled into a wide range of value products marketed across Europe.

The project brings together the Europe Hospitals, Renewi as the waste management company, Raff Plastics as the recycler, and Vinyl Plus – the European PVC industry’s commitment to sustainable development. “Starting with a pilot project in Belgium, we are excited to make medical plastics more circular together with our partners” stated Brigitte Dero, Managing Director of Vinyl Plus.

All Belgian Vinyl Plus Med partners are located within a radius of 120 km, to limit transport distances and thus minimize the carbon footprint.

“The Vinyl Plus Med project proves once again that recycling is the growth engine of a circular economy: there are still so many materials that are not recycled and that is precisely where there is growth potential. Being circular and innovative is something you have to do together. Value chain collaborations are crucial in the transition to a circular economy. We are therefore very proud to be part of this sustainability project where previously lost PVC is now given a second life!” stated Dries De Pauw, Director Sales and Marketing at Renewi.

Caroline Van der Perre, Co-Owner, Raff Plastics, added: “For a recycling company such as Raff Plastics, projects like Vinyl Plus Med are important as we assume that everything starts with a good collection. According to us, there are unfortunately still many materials that could be recycled but, due to unfavorable circumstances, are sent to landfill or incineration. A project such as Vinyl Plus Med makes sure that everyone becomes aware and committed to working together to the renewal of raw materials.”

COVID-19 has highlighted the crucial role played by single-use plastic medical devices in the prevention and control of infection in hospitals. The surge in the need of such disposable items has shed light on the challenges of properly managing and discarding them after use.

“Within this context, Vinyl Plus wants to help Belgian hospitals. After all, PVC is the most widely used plastic in healthcare. Most PVC medical waste is non-infectious and can be recycled when properly sorted and collected. We are keen to enhance PVC’s recyclability in this critical sector and are delighted to officially launch our Vinyl Plus Med pilot project in Belgium,” commented Brigitte Dero.


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