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Campus News

Medical Supply Recycling Partnership Saves Money, Waste

Medical Supply Recycling Partnership Saves Money, Waste photo
A TCC student volunteers to sort medical supplies, which will be diverted from landfills and shipped to a medical facility in need of supplies.

Friday, February 03, 2017 – Pouncing tiger…stretching tiger…snoring tiger. Pouncing tiger…stretching tiger… snoring tiger. One by one, hundreds of freshly washed, tiger-decorated, pediatric surgical gowns of all sizes were folded and separated into boxes to be shipped internationally to a medical facility in need.

On Jan. 25, several Tacoma Community College faculty, staff, friends and one student came together with other community volunteers to sort through thousands of pounds of various new, near to expiration medical supplies donated by hospitals and clinics in the Providence Health International healthcare system – supplies that otherwise would have been destined for a landfill. 

Each year, nearly 6 million pounds of perfectly good medical supplies enter landfills due to expiration dates. Providence took action to change the nature of their global impact by establishing a way to sort and distribute these items to healthcare agencies around the world, where they are most needed. 

Tacoma Community College first heard about Providence International’s program of also donating to local non-profits several months ago. In return for receiving free medical supplies for use in their classroom labs, TCC agreed to provide a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer work during the course of the year, helping to sort and organize a wide variety of miscellaneous donated goods in the Providence warehouse. 

During their recent visit, TCC health science programs received over 1,100 pounds of equipment and supplies to be used by their students. The very low price estimate that Providence uses to quantify the value of donated supplies is $15/lb. As such, the estimated value of these items provided to TCC that day was over $16,000. The cost of ordering these items from a supplier would easily run much, much higher. Ultimately, the value of the donated items may help reduce the cost of the programs for the students.

“Financial benefit aside, this community service just felt right, and another trip is planned in February,” said Health Sciences Coordinator Stephanie Thompson.

“It is hoped that this will be a long-term partnership, an opportunity to benefit – and give back - for Providence, TCC, our students and our global community.” 

For additional information, please contact:
Rachel Payne
Communications Consultant
Phone: 253.460.4381
Email: rpayne@tacomacc.edu

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