Study objective: To conduct a feasibility study of the mechanics of recycling single-use anesthesia breathing systems and practices of anesthesiologists and nurse-anesthetists in a tri-state region.
Study design: Two-part, open, prospective analysis using pre-printed questionnaire and cost/time analysis of labor and materials.
Setting: Questionnaire sent to 413 anesthesiology departments in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, and hospital/recycling facility for evaluation of time and cost.
Measurements and main results: Time to disassemble and sort the breathing circuits, analysis of costs and obtainable income from byproducts of recycling, and standard survey questionnaire concerning demographic characteristics of respondents and individual department/hospital practitioners. Data analysis included analysis of variance and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Pilot analysis: Sorting of circuits to economic component required ten minutes at an average cost of $1.60 Value of scraps obtainable was $3.44, leaving a gross margin of $1.84 for a box of 18 circuits. Benefit analysis: Extended reduction in the regulated medical waste in our operating room of 16,875 lb, saving $4,387.50 per year. With generation of revenue from scrap, the net gain is $5,994.64 per yr. Questionnaire: Majority (83%) of departments polled would participate in recycling implemented by suppliers. Most respondents would not consider (58%) recycling unless mandated by law.
Conclusion: The program described is cost-effective and environmentally beneficial.