In the operating theatre, unused medical supplies are often thrown away because they fail to meet strict hygiene standards of the hospital. Dismayed by packs full of clean drapes, gowns, masks and other supplies going straight to landfill, nurse Claire Lane set out to save them.
"Even though they don't reach our standards they are still perfectly clean and can be used in a lot of other environments other than hospitals," Claire told ABC Radio Brisbane.
"A couple of weeks ago, I got 800 gowns that had gone past their expiry date because again with our Australian standards we have to have an expiry date and they're technically not usable. But we've used them in a new healthcare for the homeless charity … and they've gone across to [Papua New Guinea]."
Claire started a non-for-profit called Save Our Supplies that now has collection bins at eight hospitals across Queensland. The initiative redistributes supplies to community health services and hospitals overseas.
Save Our Supplies is helping avoid unnecessary waste in a sector responsible for 7 per cent of Australia's carbon emissions. Claire recalls one instance where an entire shipping container of sanitiser that had the wrong expiry date on it was donated and sent to Fiji. She hopes to expand the project around the country and internationally.
"My dream would be to have it in every workplace in Australia … then I want it to be in every developed nation in the world," she said.
Next week, National Recycling Week is celebrating its 25th year of helping Aussies save resources from landfill. To find out more and great involved head to nationalrecyclingweek.com.au.
Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.