Waste or resource – It’s a matter of perception that requires a paradigm shift

Waste or resource – It’s a matter of perception that requires a paradigm shift

It was at South Cardiff on a barmy June afternoon and he was scouting around for useful ‘rubbish’ that households had placed on the verge as part of the LMCC twice yearly bulk ‘waste’ collection.

There they were.  A pair of children’s crutches that looked to be in very good condition, as closer inspection confirmed, was waiting for the pick up truck.

He retrieved them from the respective footpath and stashed them in the Camry Wagon with the intention of delivering them to the John Hunter Hospital to be reused by a needy child.

Before making the delivery he decided to check where to take them.

The next day a phone call to the John Hunter Hospital got him nowhere.  He was told that they were considered contaminated and therefore unusable a second time around.

This seemed ridiculous in an age of supposed taking care of the earth and minimising waste to landfill.

An email (see below) to Hunter New England Health seemed to fall on deaf ears.   See below …

Hello

     I am very concerned to be told that crutches cannot be reused but must be disposed of to landfill. I picked up a pair of children’s crutches from a kerbside bulk waste yesterday and when making enquiries about where I could return them to I was told they couldn’t be reused.

     This is something we cannot continue to do for the next however many years behaving in a linear fashion taking, making and wasting.

     The health of the earth is what we depend on for our health. To fowl our earthly home – our nest – cannot continue ad infinitum.

     Would you please pay attention to this and advise what measures are being taken to prevent crutches that have been used to help someone get well, from helping the earth get sick and by extension us get sick.

     I look forward to your reply.

     Regards, Stuart Carter

Until 3 July 2020. A phone call was received from the Manager, Hunter Equipment Services, Wallsend. “At the HES we provide short term supplies of medical goods to help people discharged safely from hospital, to establish the best level of independence possible.”

Regarding the children’s crutches – he was informed that the John Hunter Children’s Hospital physiotherapy department is happy to accept used crutches for reuse for needy families.  This team can be contacted to return the children’s crutches.

He expressed concern that the message is confusing and that it required this email to have the situation clarified.  In other words it may well have been that the reason why the crutches were on the footpath was because those people were told they were non-returnable.  Whatever the case, there needs to be change in the messaging.

We need to normalise the return of these perfectly good pieces of equipment.  In fact they should be tracked so that they will be returned.  Perhaps a deposit would help prompt users to return them to the hospital.

Note: (Subsequently to this email a second pair of crutches – adult size – in excellent condition was retrieved from a kerbside ‘rubbish’ heap.

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