Life Cycle Assessment study for hospital medical device purchasers

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Sustaining value after the end-of-life of a product to improve its circularity and sustainability has attracted an increasing number of industrial actors, policymakers, and researchers. Medical products are considered to have great remanufacturing potential, because they are often designated as single-use products and consist of various complex materials that cannot be reused and are not significant in municipal recycling infrastructure.

The remanufacturing of electrophysiology catheters is a well-established process guaranteeing equivalent quality compared to virgin-produced catheters. In order to measure if using a remanufactured product is environmentally beneficial compared to using a virgin product, life cycle assessment (LCA) is often used. However, focusing on one life cycle in order to provide information about the environmental-beneficial use fails to guide policymakers from a system perspective.

This study analyses the environmental consequences of electrophysiology catheters considering two modeling perspectives, the implementation of LCA, including a cut-off approach, and combining LCA and a circularity indicator measuring multiple life cycles. The findings from the system perspective suggest that the environmental savings increase when increasing collection rates of catheters.