Five organizations are collaborating to evaluate recycling program for blood collection tubes at Odense University Hospital
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A new health care sector collaboration in Denmark will evaluate the feasibility of recycling used blood collection tubes to reduce medical waste as part of the participants’ sustainability goals and Denmark’s Climate Action Strategy.
The pilot program is a collaboration among BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE:BDX), Odense University Hospital, the Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark, Danish Technological Institute, and GMAF Circular Medico/EcoFitt that will occur at the Odense University Hospital in Odense, Denmark.
The initiative models a circular economy, which reduces material use, redesigns materials, products and services to be less resource intensive, and recaptures waste as a resource to manufacture new materials and products.i The collaboration is part of a broader effort to further progress toward Denmark’s Climate Action Strategy, which aims to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent in 2030 compared to 1990 levels.ii
“Hospitals in Denmark are an active participant in the country’s green agenda, and knowing that blood collection tubes are one of health care’s most commonly used products, we saw an opportunity to explore a solution that would allow for these tubes to be recycled,” said Mads Nybo, chief physician of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at Odense University Hospital.
Amit Limaye, director of the BD Sustainable Medical Technology Institute said, “BD is the world’s largest manufacturer of evacuated blood collection tubes and, as part of our 2030+ environmental, social and governance goals, we are focused on reducing the environmental impact of our product portfolio. This partnership and program are a great example of like-minded stakeholders coming together to drive progress toward a greener, more sustainable health care system, because success cannot be accomplished by any one stakeholder alone.”
Used blood collection tubes are often considered a biohazardous and regulated medical waste, and in Denmark, they are currently disposed via incineration. This initiative will investigate steps involved in recycling the plastic tubes, which are made of very high-quality raw materials. Ensuring safety and proper hygiene, followed by recycling and evaluating the quality of the plastic obtained are key focus areas of the pilot. The program is currently in an evaluation phase to establish basic technical feasibility and will move to the next phase later this year, with an ultimate goal of demonstrating reuse of plastics used in manufacturing blood collection tubes.
The pilot is being showcased at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen on May 9, 2023, as one of five selected projects that address how hospitals can call attention, resources and action to sustainability challenges being faced by the health care sector.