Recycling Single-Use Medical Devices

Last updated on November 13, 2018

Does your facility reprocess single-use medical devices (SUDs)? Did you know that reprocessing SUDs can carry risks and disadvantages?

Healthcare facilities are becoming more concerned about reprocessing SUDs (devices intended for one use or use on a single patient during a single procedure). Studies have found a significant rate of physical defects, performance issues, or improper decontamination associated with reprocessing of SUDs. According to the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “The use of a reprocessed single-use device provides no direct benefit to an individual patient or her physician.”1

  • SUDs are not designed with reuse in mind.
  • Reprocessing SUDs can increase potential for patient infection.
  • Reprocessed SUDs are often disassembled and parts are exchanged, resulting in compromised functionality of the devices.
  • Common materials used in SUDs are often a combination of metals and plastic, which is difficult to sterilize without causing changes to the materials. These changes may result in an inability to validate the devices for reuse.

Cost-savings and environmental concerns have led to the practice of single-use medical device reprocessing. However, with increased focus on patient-centered care and accountability, recycling is quickly becoming the preferred method of management for SUDs.

Sharps Compliance offers the TakeAway Recycle System for the safe collection, storage, transport, and recycling of SUDs. This cost-effective solution allows organizations to reduce risk while addressing environmental concerns.

Almost all single-use medical devices are composed of materials that can be recycled. Using the TakeAway Recycle System ensures that all of the collected materials are processed down to their basic commodities. SUDs that are normally destined for reprocessing, the landfill, or treatment as medical waste are collected in the operating room or sterile processing department and then shipped by common carrier for recycling.

TakeAway Recycle System helps you avoid liability by controlling potential infection caused by reprocessed SUDs. It also saves you money by eliminating the cost and pitfalls of reprocessed SUDs. This system is compliant with OSHA and DOT and complements your sustainability initiatives.


  1“Reprocessed Single-Use Devices.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Number 537, October 2012