A NSW Government website


Circular Economy

Keeping plastic out of landfill and people in local jobs

HNELHD are committed to supporting the circular economy. The John Hunter Hospital have pioneered plastic recycling at scale in healthcare since 2022. With annual diversion volumes of 18 tonnes of plastic.

This project works toward some of the key targets set by the NSW Government in the waste and sustainable materials strategy 2041

  • have an 80% average recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030
  • triple the plastics recycling rate by 2030

The NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials strategy 2041 states “New South Wales is transitioning to a circular economy over the next 20 years. This means we will minimise what we throw away and use and reuse our resources efficiently, making them as productive as possible. We will end up with less waste, less emissions, less harm to our environment and more jobs. The move will boost innovation and help drive our economy.”

Currently plastic segregation is supported by clinical staff on the ground in a variety of settings such as operating theatres, wards, pathology lab and clinics. We recognise the time and effort that HNE sustainability champions put in to supporting waste segregation, plastic recycling and the circular economy – without whom this work is not possible.

For some items included in this stream recycling serves as a temporary measure while we continue exploring reusable options.

In FY23 the JHH diverted 18 tonnes of plastic otherwise destined for landfill.

  • 12 tonnes of soft plastic including: sterile wrap, plastic wrap and IV bags.
  • 6 tonnes of hard plastic including: pourable fluid bottles, baby bottles, pathology plastics, breathing circuits, needle caps and plastic packaging.

To see what products this plastic has been recycled into please visit Plasmar’s website Recycled Plastic Posts and Rail Fence | Sustainable Landscape Materials (plasmar.com.au)

NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041

Waste Delivery Plan (nsw.gov.au)

Plastics Action Plan 2021 (nsw.gov.au)

Circular Economy: The Key to a Sustainable Future | Global Australia

Circular Australia - We’re on a mission to fast track the circular economy

Australian Circular Economy Hub (acehub.org.au)

Recycled Plastic Posts and Rail Fence | Sustainable Landscape Materials (plasmar.com.au)

If you have any questions relating to the Plastic recycling & circular economy project please contact:

HNELHD Sustainability Project Officer: Amy Bernotas at Amy.Bernotas@health.nsw.gov.au

If you have any questions relating to the HNELHD Sustainability Strategy or other Sustainability Projects please don’t hesitate to contact:

HNELHD Sustainability Project Team at HNELHD-SustainableHealthcare2030@health.nsw.gov.au