When it comes to action on environmental issues, Canadians have been among the world’s leaders. In the 1970s, they were among the first to phase out leaded gasoline. More recently, they set an ambitious goal of 90% national energy use from clean resources. And let’s not forget the Montreal Protocol, signed in 1987 and ratified by every country on earth, which is widely believed to have saved the ozone layer.
Several Canadian Provinces have already enjoyed long-standing relationships with American-based commercial reprocessors resulting in diverting nearly 16 million pounds of medical waste from North America’s waste stream. At a federal level, Health Canada expected all commercially reprocessed devices to comply with its medical device manufacturer regulations by September 1, 2016, whether they are reprocessed domestically or outside Canada. Health Canada, now like FDA, regulates reprocessed medical devices in the same was as original equipment, allowing all Canadian hospital to access regulated safe, lower-cost, and environmentally-preferable medical devices.
I recently had the opportunity to meet with Canadian healthcare representatives to discuss the rapidly expanding field and new steps taken by the Canadian government.
Participation at “Rendez-Vous Sustainable Healthcare: Focus on Climate Change” meeting in Montreal October 15th rekindled old friendships and brought in new connections.
Hosted by Synergie Sante Environment, and with special participation of the Nordic Center for Sustainable Healthcare, over 150 hygiene and sanitation, doctors, nurses, researchers and others came together representing health institutions and health/sustainability focused companies and associations from Canada, Europe and the U.S. It was a pleasure to attend and introduce reprocessing’s financial and environmentally-sustainable solution to many still unfamiliar with the practice – indicating ample opportunity for Canadian hospitals to reduce OR waste via reprocessing.
I am pleased to have met Neil Ritchie, Executive Director of the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care. And what a joy to meet Ida Virtala, Global Area Manager, Healthcare, for Paxxo, and other industry representatives, who are bringing aggressive, lower cost and environmentally friendly products to market. I was also pleased to once again see Jodi Sherman, Director, Yale Program on Healthcare Environmental Sustainability, who has been a long-time champion of environmental sustainability. Dr. Sherman’s focus on product life cycle assessments helps healthcare consumers make wiser decisions on the products they use.
I also enjoyed reconnecting with Daniel Eriksson of the Nordic Center for Sustainable Healthcare. NCSH is at the forefront of promoting sustainable healthcare initiatives in Europe and AMDR looks forward to continued collaboration. EU-wide, regulated medical device reprocessing is a relatively new thing for Europe, but with the help of environmentally-focused healthcare professionals, we can urge policy makers to promote reprocessing as a cost and waste-saving solution.
Diverting medical waste from landfills and incinerators through reprocessing has proven successful in the United States, saving hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars and reducing millions of pounds of medical waste each year. Canada, on behalf of AMDR and our member reprocessing companies, we welcome you to the professional, regulated reprocessing movement!