Recycling Surgical Blue Wrap Promotes Sustainability

Recycling Surgical Blue Wrap Promotes Sustainability

Aug 11, 2022 | Blue Wrap

Recycling surgical blue wrap makes sense. It stays out of your red bag disposal stream. And it may even help to lower your overall medical waste numbers.

Nowadays, reducing and reusing material is worth the effort. Making new life of your blue wrap, rather than having it go to a landfill, promotes your facility’s sustainability efforts.

Last year, one hospital in Madison, WI, recycled nearly 25,000 pounds of blue wrap. About 13% of its total biohazard waste!

What is Blue Wrap?

This blue material, often wrapped around surgical instruments to help keep them sterile, contains 99% polypropylene #5. In the recycling world, this is a highly sought, heavy-duty plastic.

However, at many medical centers, hospitals, and clinics, blue wrap often gets put in with the rest of the medical or solid waste.

This Environmental Protection Agency bulletin estimates that 19% of the waste stream coming from surgical services is blue sterile wrap.

Rather than throw your blue wrap away, recycle or repurpose it. For example, pre-Covid, one hospital’s volunteer organization, created reusable tote bags from it.

MERI Collects Blue Wrap

MERI collects blue wrap at Wisconsin-based hospitals and surgical clinics. It does this at the same time it collects medical waste. Putting blue wrap in clear plastic bags keeps it separate from the infectious, hazardous, and universal containers.

MERI bales the blue wrap at its plant. Eventually, the material gets sent off for use as a binding agent in making other products, such as siding or car bumpers.

Bales of Blue Wrap


Keep Surgical Blue Wrap Separate from All Other Waste

If you decide to recycle your hospital’s blue wrap, keep this simple rule in mind: SEPARATE YOUR BLUE WRAP FROM YOUR OTHER MEDICAL WASTE.

The entire system essentially hinges on separating your blue wrap from the rest of your medical waste. Therefore, the bag should contain only blue wrap or associated tape to wrap the medical instruments.

No bodily fluids, sharps, IV bags, chemicals, gloves, infectious material, or hazardous materials can be inside the bag of blue wrap. If any of these materials are alongside the blue wrap, the whole bag of blue wrap must be disposed of rather than recycled, defeating the purpose of being a friend to the planet.

Proper Blue Wrap Recycling Poster

Remember, your efforts are only as beneficial as those who’ll take a quick minute to separate it from other medical waste and avoid contamination.  This poster may help to educate staff on proper blue wrap disposal techniques and we suggest posting it near where your used blue wrap is stored before removal.

Blue Wrap Dos and Donts


Recycling blue wrap could be your answer if you’re a medical clinic or surgical center looking to improve your sustainability record. Your facility and the environment will reap the benefits when your blue wrap gets a new life rather than end up in a landfill.


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