The Vinyl Council of Australia has confirmed that its expanding PVC Recycling in Hospitals program remains unaffected by changes in international waste management policies, including China’s National Sword ban on imported waste materials.

Over the past 12 months, almost 200 tonnes of PVC waste from hospitals has been diverted from landfill to recycling. The program has grown to operate in more than 130 hospitals throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Vinyl Council Chief Executive Sophi MacMillan states: “At a time when residential recycling programs are under enormous pressure due to significant changes to waste management policies in China and its decision to restrict the importation of unsorted waste from other countries, the Vinyl Council confirms its PVC Recycling in Hospitals program remains unaffected by changes in international waste management strategies.

“We are proud that our flourishing industry program continues to lead by example as a local, innovative waste management and recycling program that is going from strength to strength.”

The PVC Recycling in Hospitals program is managed by the Vinyl Council of Australia and its member partners – Baxter Healthcare, Aces Medical Waste and Welvic Australia. High-grade PVC waste from hospitals is redirected to reprocessors in Australia. The recycled polymer is used by Australian and New Zealand manufacturers in new goods, such as garden hoses and outdoor playground matting.

Supporting the growth of the program, Welvic has invested significantly in modern recycling equipment and created six new jobs at its PVC compounding plant in Victoria, Australia. Baxter Healthcare, a hospital IV fluids bags manufacturer, has also invested in education and training in the healthcare sector and provides logistics support.

“We seek to assure the healthcare sector and its staff that the PVC Recycling in Hospitals is strong and not affected by China’s ban on unsorted materials,” continues Sophi. “All the medical waste collected under the program has always been, and continues to be, reprocessed and used here in Australia or in New Zealand.

“This example-setting program is growing precisely because it is supported by the local vinyl manufacturing industry and the healthcare sector as product consumers. It is a clear demonstration that circularity within Australia can work.”

The Vinyl Council is calling on other industries and manufacturers to support the program and for measures to strengthen the local recycling industry.

“We would like to see greater support and incentives from government to encourage local design and manufacturing of products that use recyclate to drive demand for recyclate use in Australia.

“And we’d like policies to encourage procurement of those products that demonstrate they are closing the circularity gap in Australia,” adds Sophi.