Epworth staff lead the way in aluminium recycling

1 June 2017

Epworth theatre nurse Rebecca Pascoe has been recognised by multi-national health products company Baxter Healthcare for her achievement introducing Australia’s first aluminium recycling program at Epworth Richmond.

Rebecca led a staff-led initiative to introduce the ground-breaking program, after noticing the quantity of aluminium canisters being disposed of to landfill. “We use a lot of consumables in theatres and I see a lot of waste created which should be recycled. I have always been passionate about sustainability and conservation of the environment, so it seemed natural to step up and improve our performance”, Rebecca said.

The program, that this year seeks to recycle more than 3000 canisters at Epworth alone, is to be rolled-out nationally and Rebecca has been chosen to lead the awareness campaign.

The new aluminium recycling program is Epworth’s latest environmental initiative, following the introduction of a PVC recycling program in 2009 that converts used intravenous fluids bags, masks and tubing into garden hoses and children’s playground matting.

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

But the program would fail without staff getting behind it and building it into their normal practice. “Keeping the collection bins free of contaminants is our biggest challenge, so training is critical to the program’s success”, said Pascoe. 

Epworth Richmond’s Executive Director, Nicole Waldron said “Everyone at Epworth is supportive of the theatre team and this great initiative to reduce waste. Opportunities for further sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives are integral to our on-going operational processes and ultimately, to our continued success.”

Steven Flynn, Baxter’s General Manager of Australia & New Zealand addressed representatives of the recycling team on Friday, presenting a certificate of appreciation. He said the recycling programs were a unique end-to-end solution to help to reduce medical waste. “Hospitals across Australia and NZ are working to reduce their impact on the environment and the costs associated with managing non-hazardous medical waste”, he said. “Baxter is proud to partner with Epworth Richmond to launch this new recycling program and further our commitment to developing safe and sustainable healthcare solutions.”

Watch: Rebecca explains more on her recycling initiative.​