Theatre waste recycling wins hands down

W:\Executive\RPH\Communications\Photograph library\Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group\General photos\Fiona Stanley Hospital\2019\20191127_FSH_Huck towel recycling\
Cleaner Gina Pascuel, Green Theatres Group’s Dr Jennifer Liddell with Anaesthetic Technicians Liam Murphy and Helen Thompson.
November 29, 2019

Hand towels used across Fiona Stanley Hospital operating theatres – known as huck towels – are no longer going to landfill thanks to an exciting project helping both the environment and ParaQuad Industries.

These blue and white linen towels used by theatre staff to dry their hands before operating have been collected and given to ParaQuad to sell as part of its recycling and re-use activities.

The collaboration between the Green Theatres Group and Serco is part of the SMHS Environmental Sustainability Framework’s (external site) goals.

The project has already paid off, with six wheelie bins full of towels collected across FSH in just three months.

FSH Supplies, Linen and Waste Operations Manager Jay Leonard said a bag was being sent off every two to three weeks.

“Being the biggest hospital in the state allows us to make a significant impact, stop a large amount of huck towels going to landfill and instead recycle them for a great cause in the community,” Jay said.

ParaQuad Industries Manager Joe Tuson said the towels were industrially laundered then Disability Enterprise employees folded and packed them into a bundle.

“These packs are sold at ParaQuad opshops to raise money that helps ParaQuad, Alinea’s business division, to fund its employment program, including wages, support and supervision staff,” Mr Tuson said.

“ParaQuad employs more than 140 WA people with disabilities who need support in the workplace in order to participate.”

Fiona Stanley and Fremantle Hospitals’ Green Theatres Group’s Dr Jennifer Liddell said the success of the project was an important step towards waste reduction across the site.

“We are thrilled this has gone so well,” Jennifer said.

“I urge staff to continue to do their bit and remember to put the huck towels into the collection bins provided in each theatre after use.”

The collection is only for huck towels typically found in gown packs or their own separate packs. 

Synthetic gauze hand towels are still discarded in general waste.

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