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Recycling to reduce landfill and support the Western Australian disabled community at Fiona Stanley Hospital

In a collaboration between Serco and the Fiona Stanley and Fremantle Hospitals ‘Green Theatres Group’, hand towels used across Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) operating theatres, known as ‘huck towels’, are no longer going to landfill thanks to a project helping both the environment and ParaQuad Industries (PQI).

PQI is part of Alinea, a registered charity dedicated to supporting elderly individuals and people with disabilities in the Western Australian community. As a Registered Australian Disability Enterprise, PQI currently provides meaningful employment and vocational educational opportunities at the FSH Shenton Park facility for over 140 people with a wide range of physical and intellectual disabilities.

The blue and white linen ‘huck towels’ used by theatre staff to dry their hands before operating are now being collected and given to ParaQuad to sell as part of its recycling and re-use activities, instead of being thrown away per conventional practice.

Our Supplies, Linen and Waste Operations Manager for FSH, Jay Leonard, said a bag was being sent off every two to three weeks: “Six wheelie bins full of towels were collected across FSH in just three months. Being the biggest hospital in the state allows us to make a significant impact, stop a large amount of huck towels going to landfill and instead recycle them for a great cause in the community.”

PQI Manager, Joe Tuson, said the towels were industrially laundered then packed for resale by Disability Enterprise employees: “These packs are sold by ParaQuad to raise money that helps us to fund Alinea’s employment program, including wages, support and supervision staff.”

Fiona Stanley and Fremantle Hospitals’ Green Theatres Group’s Dr Jennifer Liddell said the success of the project was an important step towards waste reduction across the site

“We are thrilled this has gone so well,” Jennifer said. “I urge staff to continue to do their bit and remember to put the huck towels into the collection bins provided in each theatre after use.”