According to a paper in the December issue of Health Affairs, medical device reprocessing could significantly cut down on medical waste and emissions, and save hospitals money, reports Salon.

Medical device reprocessing, a little-known industry in the global health care sector that cleans, inspects, and repackages used hospital equipment, has doubled in size every year for the past 20 years, the Association of Medical Reprocessors says. In 2018, medical device reprocessing diverted 15 million pounds of medical waste from landfills and saved healthcare institutions an estimated $470 million.

This industry isn’t in the business of reprocessing things like syringes, catheters, and needles—the authors of the study recommend recycling those products for their base materials instead of reprocessing them. The study, a review of previous research published last Monday, focuses on “mid-range complexity” medical devices, equipment like ultrasound probes, blood pressure cuffs, some kinds of forceps, and laparoscopic tools, all of which can be cleaned and reused.

Read more at Salon.

Featured image: Healthcare could cut down on waste and emissions by reprocessing “mid-range complexity” medical devices, such as this ultrasound probe. (Courtesy: Dreamstime)