Weekly recycling initiative provides benefits for many

Stomal Therapy Nurse Kate Brereton, Warehouse Manager Gary Baxter and WA Ostomy Association volunteer Phillip Gregory.

The team at St John of God Murdoch Hospital has joined forces with the WA Ostomy Association in Mt Lawley to use the hospital’s recyclable materials to help transport medical devices used for stomas.

After volunteering at the Association, Stomal Therapy Nurse Kate Brereton realised instead of disposing of its plastics, including bubble wrap and plastic pouches, the hospital could give them to the Association.

“I contacted our warehouse manager who was more than happy to assist so we got the ball rolling and started a weekly donation,” Ms Brereton said.

“The Association do such amazing work in our community supporting those who live with stomas, that being able to help them, and be environmentally friendly, is a wonderful thing.”

The WA Ostomy Association is a voluntary, non-profit organisation that helps over 3000 West Australian people who live with a stoma. A stoma is an artificial opening on the abdomen wall used to collect waste after some surgeries for bowel or bladder cancers or inflammatory bowel diseases.

Phillip Gregory, volunteer at the Association, said it was often a challenge to find suitable packing materials that were both hygienic and effective for transport.

“We mail out approximately 400 parcels to our members each week,” Mr Gregory said.

“We had been using newspaper, which isn’t always in easy supply and not as hygienic as the bubble wrap and plastic pillows which we now have in plentiful supply.”

In combination with two other recycling initiatives, the weekly donation has had a significant impact on reducing the amount of landfill the St John of God Health Care warehouse produces. Only four or five months ago, the warehouse was sending three skip bins to landfill per week and now, it only sends one per week.

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