Global Recycling Day

Global Recycling Day: Repurposing Medical Equipment & Supplies

The healthcare industry in the U.S. is one of the best in the world. Yet it creates non-hazardous medical waste in excess of an estimated 5 million tons every year. That’s tons of hospital beds, gurneys, wheelchairs, x-ray machines, incubators, as well as syringes, tubing, gauze, masks and so much more being sent to landfills to rust, rot and decompose into the earth.

On this Global Recycling Day, MATTER would like to thank our hospital partners in the U.S. who are illustrating their commitment to building a more sustainable future in the healthcare industry by helping reduce the amount of medical equipment and supplies going into our landfills.

Partnering with MATTER, these hospitals donate their excess and outdated medical equipment and supplies so we can repurpose them and ship them to hospitals and clinics in under-resourced countries. Over the last three years, through our MATTER 360 initiative, we repurposed 5.6 million pounds of medical equipment and supplies that would have otherwise gone into landfills. That’s enough medical items to fill two-and-a-half football fields!

MATTER team members sorting through donated medical supplies in MATTER’s warehouse.

By giving these items a second chance to do what they were created to do – save lives – everyone wins. The donating hospitals reduce their landfill footprint and the receiving hospitals are able to improve the quality of healthcare for their patients.

One of our amazing hospital partners is Allina Health. In 2021, Allina Health donated 231,960 pounds of medical equipment and supplies to MATTER. Ellie Zuehlke, System Director, Community Benefit and Engagement for Allina Health, as well as a MATTER board member, explained how their partnership with MATTER benefits us all.

“Taking care of our environment is critical to ensuring good health for our patients, employees and our community…By donating supplies and equipment, we keep usable material out of the waste stream to improve the long-term health of our communities.”

Because of these valued hospital partners here in the United States, MATTER is not only able to help improve healthcare in under-resourced areas, but we’re also able to respond quickly to crises around the world. Currently, MATTER is shipping critical items to war-torn cities in Ukraine, thanks to supplies and equipment specifically donated by Allina Health. Read our Project Ukraine Relief blog post to learn more about our relief efforts in Ukraine.

We all have a part to play in helping to keep our environment as healthy as possible for ourselves and future generations. Thankfully, some of the very best healthcare systems here in Minnesota and around the country are doing their part and we want to recognize that on Global Recycling Day. At MATTER, we’re honored to help them achieve their sustainability goals to positively impact the environment and improve their communities.

To learn more about this topic, see our press release MATTER 360 Doubles Impact, Repurposing 3.3 Million Pounds of Medical Surplus in 2021 and read our post Recycling Medical Equipment Around The Globe.