Plastics in Healthcare: A Circular Economy Transition Plan


Single use plastic is a huge issue in our economy and an acute issue in our healthcare system. As we begin to imagine what the future of a circular economy healthcare sector looks like, this project demonstrates a new, end-to-end circular supply chain solution for plastic waste streams in a complex Sydney hospital.This project ‘closes the loop’ by collecting clinical single use plastics, such as needle caps in a clean waste stream, and finding a new market for this resource, which is then able to form the base material for manufacture of a new product.

Circular Australia’s Hospital Plastics Circular Supply Chain Alliance highlights the significant scale-up potential for clean stream uncontaminated Polypropylene (PP) and Polyethylene (PE) plastic hospital waste in NSW, to create jobs, catalyse new local manufacturing, reduce carbon and divert high-quality plastic resources from landfill. 

Our report found NSW hospitals could save $2-3M every year or the equivalent of 40 new nurses, by recycling 40 to 60 percent of clinical plastic waste, with another 19-29 plastics recycling jobs created if the plastic collected is high-quality. 

The demonstration project was conducted in collaboration with St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, AllMoulds Plastics and the University of New South Wales with input from Reference Group members.

You can explore the issue of circularity and hospital plastics through the following reports.


Plastics in Healthcare: the Case for Circularity

A spotlight on plastics in healthcare – the economic and environmental cost – and the opportunities.

Plastics in Healthcare: A Circular Economy Transition Plan

An executive summary of the challenges and opportunities for research and industry – a transition plan for circular supply chains in hospitals.

Plastics in Healthcare: A Playbook for your Hospital

A ‘how-to’ and playbook for making circular economy actionable and scalable in a hospital

Plastics in Healthcare: The St Vincent’s Hospital case study

A detailed report of the Circular Supply Chain demonstration project at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, plus recommendations and research required

Watch our Plastics in Healthcare Briefing Webinar Recording


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