Infection Control Today: Hospitals Boost Sustainability Efforts, Reduce Environmental Impact, by Kelly M. Pyrek (11/16/10):

… Reprocessing allows hospitals to deploy more of their scarce resources to enhance patient care through quality initiatives. Each hospital can decide where to re-direct their cost savings based on its greatest needs, which could include hiring staff or purchasing equipment. For some hospitals, cost savings from reprocessing can make the difference between hiring and firing a nurse. In addition to direct cost-savings, some hospitals are experiencing an unexpected benefit from purchasing reprocessed devices. They are using the lower-cost devices as leverage when negotiating the price of single-use devices with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The environmental benefits are intuitive: by putting a reprocessing program in place, hospitals are not just recycling the materials, but also buying those devices back and re-using them, thus keeping those devices out of landfills. In addition, hospitals can expect to pay about 50 percent less for a reprocessed medical device versus what they would pay for the same device labeled as ‘single-use’. Administrators understand that they’re not only saving 50 percent of the purchase cost for each device, but they’re also saving money that would be spent on special handling and waste management of that device were it discarded into the waste stream without further re-use.