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{Past Event} - Greening Operations Series: Blue Wrap Recycling: From Dream to Reality in Less Than a Year

June 19, 2009 - 1:00 pm - June 19, 2009 - 1:00 pm -- Eastern Standard Time


Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC) is a 383 bed hospital located in suburban Kansas City. A recycling program for sterilization wrap (AKA, blue wrap) was established in order to prevent this material from ending up in the local landfill. Blue wrap is a #5 plastic, not widely accepted at many recycling centers in the United States. SMMC’s “Green Team” was formed in the fall of 2007. Two associates expressed interest in recycling blue wrap, which is used as a cost-effective means to provide containment during the sterilization process. Blue wrap ensures that steam can penetrate to provide sterilization of surgical instrumentation, and provides a barrier for contamination after sterilization and before use during a procedure. Most commonly, items wrapped in this material are opened in the operating suite before a patient has entered the room. The material is then placed in the regular trash. Over 81,000 sheets of blue wrap are purchases each year in this facility.

After finding a local company that would accept the material for recycling, the two associates organized a trial to determine how much blue wrap could be reclaimed. The results of the trial helped the facility determine that almost 8000 pounds per year could be recycled and kept out of the landfill. A new contract was signed that established a partnership between Smurfit-Stone and SMMC, and full-time recycling of blue wrap was established on September 2, 2008. The associates that started this program are now encouraging surrounding Kansas City area facilities to follow suit, using local media and professional organizations to promote their program. They are also looking forward to educating end users on the “clean waste” produced by hospitals, and the need to be able to include more diverse plastics in the recycling program.


  • Learn the background of sterilization wrap (blue wrap): what it is, how it is made, why it is so widely used in healthcare, and why it is considered “clean waste”
  • How to take the first steps in your own facility to start a blue wrap recycling program: from trial and error to creating partnerships with the right people
  • What to do after you’ve started your program: Promote, promote, promote!
  • Taking baby steps to including more materials in the recycling bins at your hospital


Jen Ogden RN, BSN, CNOR, Shawnee Mission Medical Center
Telephone: 913-676-6870
Jen started at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in December 2006. Prior to that, she was an OR nurse, working in Salina, KS as well as various OR travel nursing positions. She is a member of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses. She has co-authored articles with Diana McCully about blue wrap recycling that have been recently submitted to the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management and The Healthcare Purchasing News. The pair has also been interviewed by The Lenexa Centennial and Kansas City Star newspapers, and hopes to be accepted to present a poster presentation at the 56th Annual AORN Congress in Chicago in March 2009.

Diana McCully, RCST, Shawnee Mission Medical Center
Telephone: 913-676-2698
Diana has worked at Shawnee Mission Medical Center for 10 years, 9 of which have been in a Central Sterile Processing role. Prior to that, she was a surgical technician at Hiawatha Community Hospital in Hiawatha, KS. She is a member of the Kansas City-area Operating Room Materials Group and Support Personnel, which meets 2-4 times per year to network and discuss current issues with Central Processing and Materials Management. She has helped co-author articles on blue wrap recycling with Jen Ogden, and continues to research what materials can be recycled within our hospital.

Jim Samuelson, Smurfit Recycling Company
Telephone: 913-236-8000
Jim Samuelson has worked for Smurfit-Stone for 9 years. Previously, he spent 20 years employed by an off-set printing company in North Kansas City. He presented for Smurfit at the 2003 Kansas Works Conference, which was a conference dedicated to recycling, composting, and household hazardous waste education. His talk was on OCC (old corrugated containers) markets and upcoming trends with China as an emerging market contender.

Webinar speakers have no financial or other interest in the sponsoring company and the sponsor has had no input into the content of the presentation.

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