The 4R Mantra everyone in healthcare owes to our eco-system! – Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle!
Waste handling has become one of the most critical problems we are facing today on the planet Earth. Thanks to tremendous increase in human population and industrial production, we are generating humongous amounts of waste of all kinds. Due to its sheer scale, waste can no longer just be dumped or buried and forgotten.
Electronic waste is among the most difficult to handle wastes. According to reports close to 42 million Tons of e-waste was generated in the world in 2014. India has emerged as fifth largest electronic waste producer in world. Medical equipment contributes to about 8% of the annual e-waste production and it is growing.
Toxins in e-waste include lead glass, batteries, as well as mercury, cadmium, chromium and ozone-depleting substances (CFCs). Electronic waste accounts for 40% of lead and 70% of heavy metals found in landfills. These pollutants are responsible for groundwater contamination, air pollution and soil acidification. Health problems associated with such toxins include impaired mental development, cancer, and damage to livers and kidneys.
Waste management is not just a routine problem to be handled; it is increasingly becoming an issue of sustainability. Waste management has now become a systematic process consisting of collection, transportation, and proper disposal of garbage, sewage and other waste products, including offering various solutions for recycling the items, putting the waste to productive use.
4Rs of waste management
Reduce: Generating more and more waste and then trying to manage it, not only uses more resources but also anyway increases the dumping. Instead advocacy for reducing waste in the first place, is gaining ground. This involves using things longer and minimizing use-and-throw alternatives. Refurbishing medical equipment and using them longer not only makes healthcare affordable, but also a big contribution to reducing e-waste. Proper usage, regular preventive maintenance and calibration of medical equipment is known to increase the average life of an equipment by at least 2-3 years. We owe it to our eco-system to maintain our medical equipment well so that they are not dumped unnecessarily and untimely.
Reuse: As much as possible use re-usable alternatives. As we all know, technology is constantly evolving and newer products with better capabilities are coming up every year in the domain of medical equipment. If in case hospitals want to upgrade an equipment, they could sell the existing used medical equipment to another hospital in perhaps tier II & III towns who may still put it to good use. PrimedeQ assists hospitals in selling their used equipment for good prices and thereby makes an affordable option available to smaller hospitals with tighter budgets. Many medical devices from scissors, forceps, specula to endoscopes are sterilized and reused regularly in hospitals.
Repair: One of the biggest challenges in using equipment longer is break-down and poor availability of spare parts. Medical equipment have a lot of electronic components and PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards). Repair of Printed Circuit boards such as motherboard, power supply board, control board, transmit-receiving board, Display board, Sensor Interface Boards etc. are all possible and they can be very useful in longer usage of medical equipment. Even X-Ray and CT tubes can be repaired or refilled for reuse. These measures are all make it more affordable compared to using newer parts or buying new equipment altogether.
Recycle: If an item is really beyond reuse or repair or beginning to impact safety of patient or user, it is then better to dispose-off the medical equipment in a responsible manner. There are many elements that can be extracted out of printed circuit boards and used in new products. Ferrous metals, copper, silver, gold and plastics can all be recycled out of e-waste and profitably reused in new products.
PrimedeQ assists hospitals in selling used medical equipment to other hospitals, repair medical equipment and spares such as motherboard, control board, display board, power supply boards and many other kinds of boards and other electronic components. We are committed to make healthcare affordable through cost-effective availability of equipment as well as responsible disposal of (unusable) medical equipment and parts.