Archive for the "medical" category

How can I reuse or recycle medical plastic tubing?

We’ve had an email from Janette asking about medical plastic tubing:

I need to know how I might reuse/recycle medical plastic tubing. My husband uses an oxygen tank and the cannula (clear plastic tubing) needs to be changed every two weeks. After the nasal clip is removed, biowaste/garbage – there’s still a ten foot length (3/16″ caliper) of sturdy, clear tubing that I would have to discard. Any ideas?

I live in the USA and the rural county recycling center I use doesn’t recycle this type of plastic.

(3/16 caliper is just under 5mm apparently)

That seems like it would be a really useful thing – the type of thing that would make a welcome addition to any tool kit. Some reuse ideas that spring to mind: using it to (softly) tie plants/trees to supports, wrapped around (and probably glued into place) a tool handle to provide some cushioning and I suspect some clever people could use it for drip-feed watering systems for greenhouses or the like.

It could be used for craft creations in its own right too: I’ve seen people making statement jewellery from tubing before; I’ve been looking at pendant light fittings recently and saw one made from loops of (albeit thicker) tubing; and I wonder if it’s flexible enough to be used for macramé or crochet/knitting – anyone seen any projects that could use lengths of tubing?

(One word of warning: apparently this type of tubing will discolour (yellow) over time when exposed to UV (sun) light.)

Finally, it might be worth containing the medical supply company to see if they’d be willing to take it back for recycling – if enough people ask, they might be compelled to do something.

Any other reusing or recycling ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle the plastic spoons that come with children’s medicines/cough syrup?

Tabitha has asked:

How can I recycle the plastic spoons you get in children’s medicine bottles? Thanks ;oD

A great question! I can’t take tablets so have to take liquid medicine instead – and as a result, I end up with lots of these little suckers. There is no way to reject them really – they’re tucked inside the box and I suspect if you did ask the pharmacist to remove it, they would just go in their bin instead.

While they’ve got a full teaspoon size head, they only have a tiny (2cm/inch) long handle (or a smaller spoon in lieu of a handle, like the one in the picture) so can’t really be used as general plastic spoons for picnics or what-have-you. They would be useful as a measuring spoon in the kitchen – since they typically have 2.5ml and 5ml (half a teaspoon/full teaspoon) level markings on them to ensure correct dosage – but that’ll only going to use one or two of them maximum.

I’m going to contact the companies behind the medicines I use most often to see if they have any recycling advice but most generic plastic cutlery is made from Polystyrene (plastic number 6), which is not usually recycled, so chances are we won’t be able to fling these little spoons into our plastic recycling bin any time soon.

Any suggestions for reuses?

How can I reuse or recycle out of date contact lens solution?

Good friend of Recycle This Petra has been in touch again:

Here I am again with another item that you hopefully find interesting enough to put on your website.

Still cleaning my cupboards :-) , I now found several out-of-date bottles of contact lens liquid. It’s the storage and insertion liquid, not the soapy cleaning stuff, although it says that it can also be used for cleaning. I can’t find any ingredients, except that it contains certain additives for conservation.

Does anyone know if there’s anything I can do with it. I don’t wear my lenses any more due to too dry eyes, so this is what is left.

As I’m a glasses wearer, I’ve not had enough experience with the liquid to know what it could be used for – I do know that those solutions are sometimes just saline, but I don’t know if that’s the case with Petra’s stash.

Has anyone else had leftover contact lens solution? What did you do with it? Once they’re out of date, can they be used for other not-so-critical things? And if so, what?

As it’s such an unknown area to me, I’d love to hear your ideas for this!

How can I reuse or recycle old x-rays?

(I’m still “enjoying” the flu so apologies if I’m even less regular at posting/replying to email than usual and/or more vague/rambling when I do write.)

Estelle has sent us an email about x-rays:

I have got a pile of x-rays harking back to my childhood. They are those large ones, white on black, which probably contain silver. Nowadays, they just give you them on CDs.

What can I do with these x-rays? I want to ditch them.

Because of the silver, there are a lot of places that collect old x-rays for recycling – but many are only geared up for large quantities of the stuff (and certainly only start paying for them for very large quantities) from hospitals and the like because the amount of silver in each film is negligible. Does anyone know of any companies/organisations that collect small quantities for recycling? Ideally with local collection points or by post.

Aside from that, I’d imagine it would be relatively easy to pass them on for someone to reuse for artistic or craft purposes. (You may want to remove any personal identification marks first.) There are quite a few for sale on eBay (in the Collectables/Scientific section mostly) but if you didn’t want to get into that, you could give them away locally on Freecycle or Gumtree/Craig’s List.

Anyone got any specific suggestions for things to make/do with them?

How can I reuse or recycle single use medication vial flip caps?

Over on the Suggest an Item page, Valerey explained:

I work in the medical profession and I open and use medications all the time. I was wondering is there any way to reuse the flip seals on the top of the single use vials. I have a quite a few and need some suggestions….thanks.

I’m not a medical person so I’m not familiar with the caps – but after a bit of time with Google Image search, I think I know what Valerey means – the flat top bit in that picture (if it’s not that, please do let me know). It’s a disc with a protruding centre, which seals into the top of the bottle. Some seem to have “flip off” stamped into them too, which seems a little redundant as it’s inside the bottle but gives them a bit of fun attitude…! :)

People who know what they are: do you know if the caps come into contact with the medication at all, or is there another seal in between? If it does come into contact with the medication, that will probably limit the potential reuses – they look like they could be used as coins in a toy till/cash register but you probably wouldn’t want kids getting their hands on them if they had the slightest traces of medicines on them.

And for those already familiar with them, any suggestions?

UPDATED TO ADD: lots of people have been asking for pictures of flip off cap creations for inspiration. Here are some that I can find – if anyone knows of any more examples, let me know and I’ll add them to my list: