The New York Times: In a World of Throwaways, Making a Dent in Medical Waste (07/05/10):

The health care industry has a garbage problem.

It’s not just that hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics and other health facilities generate several billion pounds of garbage each year: buried in that mountain of trash are untold numbers of unused disposable medical devices as well as used but recyclable supplies and equipment, from excess syringes and gauze to surgical instruments….

…Many organizations, from Practice Greenhealth to the American College of Cardiology, support reprocessing as a safe strategy. Today, more than half the country’s hospitals send at least some of their single-use devices to reprocessors, said Daniel J. Vukelich, president of the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors. The group represents Ascent Healthcare Solutions and SterilMed, the two companies that perform about 95 percent of reprocessing in the United States….