Nitrile and latex gloves are not accepted in the traditional hospital recycling program; however since they are a necessary high-use, high-volume item, there is a lot of interest from health care staff to divert them away from landfill.
When Providence Health Care opened a funding opportunity for staff environmental sustainability projects, the Transfusion Medicine Laboratory at St. Paul’s Hospital submitted a project proposal to pilot a glove recycling initiative through the TerraCycle Zero Waste Box program.
From March – September 2020, approximately 7140 nitrile and latex gloves were recycling in the Zero Waste Box, the vast majority of gloves used. There were no issues with contamination, since lab staff were already trained on disposing gloves that have been exposed to hazardous materials into the hazardous waste container.
Overall learning highlights include:
- The program can work well in areas where the large majority of gloves are not exposed to biomedical or hazardous waste material and are therefore eligible for recycling.
- Contamination is not an issue when staff education is provided and thoroughly communicated.
- The program is simple to run with no large logistical hurdles. All that is needed is a budget and a system of accountability to bring the full Zero Waste Box to the loading dock for pick up.