Earth Day News: Free CO2 Calculator to Help Hospital Sustainability Managers Track and Reduce Stubborn Supply Chain Emissions by Using Regulated, Reprocessed Single-Use Medical Devices from AMDR Members

  • If the health sector worldwide were a country, it would be the fifth highest greenhouse gas emitting nation on the planet; use of reprocessed devices offers immediately available solution1
  • Research from 8 peer reviewed, Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) powers the calculator; the studies find an average 44% greenhouse gas emissions reduction from use of reprocessed devices compared to their virgin alternatives
  • Nearly 10,000 hospitals, including U.S. military hospitals, and every U.S. health system (except the Veterans Health Administration), many of the UK’s National Trusts and German University hospitals reduce cost, waste, and emissions by reprocessing single-use devices from AMDR members

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Association of Medical Device Reprocessors (AMDR), the non-profit organization that advocates for the commercial reprocessing of select “single-use” medical devices (SUDs), today released a free CO2 calculator to track emissions reductions at hospitals for each regulated reprocessed SUD used.

About four in five clinicians recently surveyed by the Commonwealth Fund believe that it’s important for their hospital to address climate change and that doing so is aligned with their organization’s mission.2 AMDR’s free carbon emissions calculator for heavily relied-upon SUDs is a welcome new resource.

AMDR members reprocess select devices labelled for “single use” by the original manufacturer and demonstrate to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and similar regulatory authorities that the devices can be safely and effectively cleaned, inspected, disinfected/sterilized, packaged, and shipped back to hospitals. Reprocessed SUDs range from simple, non-invasive pulse oximeter sensors and surgical blades, to costly and complex electrophysiology catheters used by cardiologists.

“We have long had the science to prove reprocessing is safe, and more recently because of peer reviewed life cycle assessments, we know they substantially cut emissions compared to using virgin devices,” said Daniel J. Vukelich, President and CEO, AMDR. “But now, we’ve created a free calculator tool – available for all to use – so that hospitals everywhere can approximate how much they are reducing their carbon footprint by using reprocessed ‘single-use’ devices.”

Noted sustainability researcher, Cassandra Thiel, PhD, President and CEO, Clinically Sustainable Consulting, advised on the project.

“LCAs have been providing valuable data and insights in other industries for decades, and we’re proud to help translate this science into meaning for hospitals,” said Dr. Thiel. “Based on the research, a switch to more reprocessed devices is a straightforward way for hospitals to reduce their carbon footprint.”

How it Works

When a hospital purchasing or sustainability manager plugs in the number of reprocessed devices used, the calculator applies the average reduction in CO2 found from peer-reviewed LCAs from similar products. Devices are segmented into one of three categories: Cardiology, Surgical, or Patient Care.

The FDA and the European Medicines Agency have reviewed and cleared or allow over 300 types of “single-use” devices for commercial reprocessing by AMDR members. Because many variables go into each LCA, including the specific device tested, the distance shipped, and the reprocessor evaluated, use of the data from these LCA studies provides only an approximation. As additional LCAs go through peer review, AMDR will add them to power the calculator each Earth Day, which, according to the AMDR research team, should make the calculator increasingly accurate as time goes on. The rationale and methodology for the calculator is available online.

“When hospitals use reprocessed products, they are reducing the need to extract materials from the earth – and so I can’t think of a better announcement to make on Earth Day than this,” said Mr. Vukelich. “Reprocessed devices are the low-hanging fruit of climate change solutions for the health sector – they reduce cost, waste, and emissions – and they strengthen the supply chain.”

About AMDR

The Association of Medical Device Reprocessors (AMDR) is the global trade association for the regulated, commercial “single-use” device reprocessing and remanufacturing industry. Founded in 1997, AMDR has advocated for reprocessing and remanufacturing as an important healthcare strategy that helps hospitals and healthcare providers increase quality, reduce costs, waste, and emissions, and strengthen the supply chain.

AMDR protects the interests of its members in regulation, legislation, and standard-setting. AMDR members include Arjo ReNu Medical, Innovative Health, Medline Renewal, Stryker Sustainability Solutions, Sustainable Technologies (a Cardinal Health Business), and Vanguard AG. Having played a key role in the establishment of the reprocessing industry, AMDR continues to push the global medical technology industry, leading the way for remanufacturing to play a defining role in the evolution of new device technologies.


2 Arnav Shah and Lovisa Gustafsson, U.S. Health Care Workers Want Their Employers to Address Climate Change (Commonwealth Fund, Jan. 2024).


David Sheon

Director, Global Communications, AMDR

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