Chicago hospital diverts 6 tons of IV bag waste in scalable program

Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine has recycled more than 12,000 pounds of IV bags waste that would otherwise be sent to landfills.

The IV bag recycling initiative was led by medical equipment manufacturer Baxter. After witnessing the success from its pilot partnership with Northwestern, the company now plans to scale the recycling program and make it available to more U.S. hospitals.

Initially, though, Baxter will begin to roll out the program to more Chicago-area hospitals, according to a Dec. 14 Baxter news release. 

"We are proud to pilot this program with Baxter to be the first health system in the nation to begin recycling PVC IV bags," Jeff Good, chief sustainability executive and vice president of operations at Northwestern Medicine stated. "What started as a single-unit pilot is now standard practice across several of our inpatient units within Northwestern Memorial Hospital and has resulted in the recycling of more than 170,000 IV bags."

Though the pilot stage of the recycling program has concluded, Northwestern confirmed it will continue the efforts to reduce its carbon footprint as an organization.

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