The facility is now twice as large as before, at 100,000 square feet, said Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health.
The medical device manufacturer and distributor launched Sustainable Technologies in 2015 to collect, reprocess and recycle single-use devices in the U.S. Sustainable Technologies now works with more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals and ambulatory service centers, Cardinal Health said.
The FDA allows single-use devices to be used more than once if reprocessors can show the reprocessed devices are substantially equivalent to the original device. Many single-use devices can be recycled when they can not be reprocessed.
“Sustainable Technologies is a unique growth business within Cardinal Health,” Global Planning SVP Pete Bennett said in a news release. “Our investment in this expansion highlights Cardinal Health’s commitment to helping reduce healthcare’s environmental impact and waste through [single-use device] reprocessing.”
Cardinal Health said single-use device reprocessing is one of the largest opportunities to reduce hospital waste. The company cited an Association of Medical Device Reprocessors report that estimated U.S. hospitals saved $372 million in 2020 thanks to reprocessed single-use devices.
Those devices cost 25% to 40% less than their brand-new counterparts, according to the association, which represents the single-use device reprocessing and remanufacturing industry.
“Sustainable Technologies’ larger space will allow the business to bring on new products for customers, and better meet increasing demand for existing products,” Bennett said. “This represents a win-win, allowing us to help more customers both reduce costs and eliminate more waste from the environment.”
How Cardinal Health’s Sustainable Technologies business operates
Sustainable Technologies identifies optimal locations for single-use device collection bins and schedules regular pickups for reprocessing. Used products at the Sustainable Technologies facility are then inspected, sorted, cleaned, tested, inspected again, disinfected, sterilized and redistributed to healthcare facilities.
Devices that can be reprocessed include pneumatic tourniquet cuffs, later air transfer mats, compression sleeves, disposable lead wires, pressure infusion bags and pulse oximetry sensors.
The Riverview facility has recycled, reused or recovered more than 2.5 million pounds of solid waste and kept 99.9% of waste out of landfills, Cardinal Health said. The facility recovers valuable metals from batteries and wires, for example, and sorts corrugated cardboard for recycling back into cardboard or chipboard products such as paper towels, tissues and paperboard.
Non-recoverable material and pharmaceutical and hazardous waste at the Sustainable Technologies facility is incinerated, while regulated medical waste and plant trash go to a waste-to-energy plant where it is burned to generate electricity.
Cardinal Health reported $15.9 billion in sales for its medical segment in 2022, making it the eighth-largest medical device company in the world according to Medical Design & Outsourcing‘s Medtech Big 100 ranking.