European first: Ghent University Hospital to use sustainable containers for medical waste

Ghent University Hospital (UZGent) will replace its 55,000 containers, which it uses annually for medical waste, with ones made of recycled plastics. According to the hospital, this is a European first.

The new type of container, developed by recycling company Vanheede, is made from a mix of discarded plastics that are intensively sorted, washed and shredded. The flakes are mixed in the right proportions and melted into a black pellet with the chemical and mechanical properties required for a medical container according to UN standards.

The operation means an 18 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions in the entire cycle that the RMA (high-risk medical waste ) travels. Also, 7,000 boxes of dry medical waste may not be reused and will go to the incinerator when full.

Sustainable containers for medical waste are a European first, says the hospital. "With this switch, we save some 82,500 kg of CO2 annually in the full cycle of our high-risk medical waste and still meet the strict requirements of medical waste disposal," says sustainability coordinator Evelien Kieckens (UZ Gent). "Hopefully, this will allow us to convince other healthcare institutions as well", she concludes.



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