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Nursing the planet: theatre staff champion sustainability program

Nurses at Epworth Richmond are leading a hospital-wide effort to divert an estimated 12 tonnes of hospital waste from landfill each year.

Theatre nurse Rebecca Pascoe has been heading a team of staff that drives the recycling of aluminium and PVC hospital products, as part of the new sustainability program.

Pascoe said the team uses a lot of consumables in theatres and saw that there was a lot of waste created that should be recycled.

“I could see there was a massive gap and huge potential for us to be recycling more at Epworth Richmond,” she said. “We just needed the resources and staff education to get started.”

Epworth HealthCare partnered with Baxter Healthcare for the sustainability program. Baxter and the Vinyl Council of Australia assists hospitals in the collection and recycling of the company's intravenous fluids bags, oxygen masks and oxygen tubing. This year, the program has expanded to aluminium bottles of its gas anesthesia products.

Epworth said it expects its hospitals across Victoria will recycle about 3000 aluminium canisters each year as part of the program, as well as 80 cubic metres of PVC products, which it says is enough to fill an operating theatre.

Executive director of Epworth Richmond Nicole Waldron said everyone at Epworth is supportive of the theatre team and the program as a whole. "Opportunities for further sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives are integral to our ongoing operational processes and ultimately, to our continued success," she said.

Nursing Review sat down with Pascoe to find out what goes into the changing the way products are disposed of.

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