Medical equipment recycling scheme reaches five-tonne mark

Daren Richardson from Medequip, Jenny Lowes, service improvement manager at North Yorkshire Council, and Steve Midgley from Yorwaste, recycling unwanted medical equipment at Northallerton HWRC.

A community-led initiative encouraging residents to drop-off unwanted medical equipment has been hailed a success after five tonnes of items have been donated in just 12 months.

In October last year, new recycling bins were installed at household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) across North Yorkshire and York in partnership with Medequip, which provides community equipment services to local authorities and the NHS across the UK.

Since then, five tonnes of equipment have been donated, the equivalent of almost 7,000 crutches.

All of the items are assessed, safety tested and either repaired and reused or stripped down for recycling.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for waste services, Cllr Greg White, said: “We would like to thank everybody who has supported the scheme and take this opportunity to encourage more people to come forward and donate.

“Recycling unwanted equipment is not only great for the planet, but also reduces the costs of buying new. Such items are designed to be kept in use for as long as possible and are simple to refurbish.

“By making the most of return and reuse schemes, we can help make a positive impact on the environment and help the vital NHS resources go further.”

The average hospital could save £46,000 a year if just two out of every five walking aids were returned for reuse. Faulty walking aids that are beyond repair can be recycled as scrap metal, generating income for the trust.

North Yorkshire operations manager at Medequip, Darren Clark, said: “We understand how crucial it is to inform the community about the importance of returning equipment.

“We’re also committed to simplifying the process of arranging collections or returning equipment to accessible locations.

“Through our partnership with Yorwaste, we’re making it more convenient and straightforward for everyone.”

For more information on the Medequip bins, visit North Yorkshire Council’s website at www.northyorks.gov.uk/bins-recycling-and-waste/household-waste-recycling-centres/medical-equipment