Infusion therapies and technologies provider Baxter International has concluded the first phase of its pilot programme for recycling intravenous (IV) bags for US hospitals.

In collaboration with Northwestern Medicine, the company has successfully redirected more than six tonnes of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) IV bag waste from landfills to be recycled.

The programme is claimed to be the first of its kind to be rolled out in the US.

Northwestern Medicine chief sustainability executive and operations vice-president Jeff Good said: “Our health system understands the environmental importance of this pilot programme and we are dedicated to creating initiatives that support our overarching sustainability goals to reduce our carbon footprint and eliminate unnecessary waste.”

Via the pilot, various departments at Northwestern Memorial Hospital such as nursing, supply chain, and environmental services, collaborated to create this new process.

The process facilitates the integration of material separation for recycling into daily nursing tasks, addressing space limitations generally encountered in hospital settings.

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The IV bags, once collected, are transported and inspected by third-party logistics and recycling partners.

These partners then recycle the bags into various products, including industrial floor mats and protective edging for docks and landscaping.

The IV bags used in this pilot were made from PVC, a commonly used plastic material in medical products.

Baxter Infusion Therapies and Technologies president Cecilia Soriano said: “Across the country, hundreds of thousands of IV bags are used every day. Baxter is a proud manufacturer and supplier of these bags, which are ubiquitous in hospital care- particularly single-use plastic containers that provide patients clinically essential solutions including fluids, nutrition and medicines.

“In line with Baxter’s commitments as a responsible corporate citizen, we believe this pilot helps pave the way for meaningful, long-term waste reduction.”