Rebuilding the post-COVID-19 global economy must happen within the framework of climate change mitigation. The European Commission recently unveiled a 750 billion euro aid package placing climate change at the center of its coronavirus recovery plan, with 100 billion of those euros going to fund a seven-year Horizon Europe Programme. Horizon Europe will be tasked with promoting research and innovation across the European healthcare system as it recovers from the pandemic. With device reprocessing and remanufacturing already well underway in the EU, we expect to see a greater demand for this industry’s services consistent with the objectives of the stimulus plan.

The EU Green Recovery Plan provides a roadmap that the rest of the world should pay attention to as each country works to address their own healthcare crisis during and in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of new global daily cases continues to grow, translating to a greater burden on doctors, nurses, and hospital staff. Healthcare officials must act now in order to prevent long-term, potentially irreparable damage while promoting a financially and environmentally sustainable alternative to our current healthcare system.

Reprocessing and remanufacturing of single-use devices represents healthcare sustainability at its very core. We know how choosing reprocessed devices gives hospitals greater monetary flexibility – especially when it relates to their ability to hire new staff and expand areas of care. We know how choosing reprocessed devices creates employment opportunities for our green and high tech sector of the medical device industry. And we know how choosing reprocessed devices reduces the massive carbon footprint of the healthcare system by diverting millions of pounds of unnecessary waste away from landfills or incinerators.

As the EU steps up to address coronavirus recovery within the context of climate change, it’s important that the US does so as well. While a nationwide response is still lacking, healthcare systems at the regional, state, and local levels have the ability, right now, to adopt or ramp ups practices, such as device reprocessing, into existing healthcare systems. Doing so now will unequivocally reduce the burden that we see on the horizon.