New sharps containers that are made from recycled materials.

An innovative pilot recycling program at Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, has reduced sharps waste disposal by recovering most of the materials used in the devices and their disposal containers for safe reuse in new products.

Medical device maker BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.) Franklin Lakes, N.J., developed the program in collaboration with Waste Management, Houston.

Waste Management collects the sharps containers at Rady and hauls them away for treatment. The materials then are sent to a local recycling company for recovery of raw materials, which are incorporated with other recycled materials to make new BD Recykleen container products. BD says more than 70 percent of the waste may be recovered for use in new products.

"This environmentally friendly solution to disposing of sharps waste falls perfectly in line with our hospital initiatives to reduce, reuse and recycle," says Randy Veenstra, Green Team leader at Rady. The program will eliminate an estimated 38,000 pounds of sharps waste from landfills annually, he says.

Ranjeet Banerjee, vice president, Medical-Surgical Systems, BD, says the sharps recycling program at Rady is running well and has achieved its objective of not creating any additional cost to the hospital. Banerjee says the company is looking at launching the program on a larger scale this year. Mike McInerney, vice president, Waste Management Healthcare Solutions, says the program is in keeping with the company's goal to help health facilities find "greener solutions for waste leaving their hospitals."