Our approach to climate change
We all have a role to play in lightening our impact on the planet. From proper disposal of solid waste to medical waste, we are committed to limiting climate change and supporting environmentally sustainable solutions. Locally led successes include solar panels, projects to recycle materials important to our business, and zero waste-to-landfill initiatives.
107 net tons
of metal diverted from landfills and recycled from retired dialysis machines.
of plastics recycled and kept out of landfills annually through our Reusable Sharps Container Program.
more than 60%
of locations recycle cardboard, plastic, and other recyclables, diverting 17,490 net tons of waste from the landfill.
ways we are reducing our environmental impact
Recycling dialysis machine components
About 67 percent of conventional dialysis machines are composed of recyclable metals such as copper, aluminum, and steel. Often, the plastic, bulbs, and circuit boards can be recycled as well. We use environmentally conscious practices to reduce waste from dialysis machines taken out of service after we purchase new ones. In 2020, we diverted 107 net tons of metals from landfill by reusing or recycling parts from 2,476 retired machines. In this process, we're reducing our environmental impact and extending the life of recovered components.
Recycling sharps containers
Plastic containers help dialysis clinics safely and efficiently dispose of needles and other sharp objects. In the past, these receptacles were filled once, then autoclaved, shredded, and sent to landfills, releasing thousands of pounds of carbon into the atmosphere as they decayed. We shifted to reusable sharps containers, which can be emptied, washed, disinfected, and reused up to 600 times. In 2020, we reused 1,331,312 containers, eliminating 2,452,236 pounds of waste and preventing 1,397,775 pounds of carbon emissions.
using paper cups
Dialysis centers use up to 30 million small cups per year to distribute patient medications. Previously, our centers used plastic cups, which would sit in landfills and release toxic gasses during decomposition, a process that can take 450 years. By switching to paper cups — which decompose 15 times faster than plastic and pose less of a threat to air and water — we reduced the use of plastic cups by 5.8 million in 2020, and we estimate a potential reduction of 46 million per year with the program implemented company-wide.
REUSABLE MIRCERA SHIPPERS
Mircera is an agent used to treat anemia associated with chronic kidney disease and is an important component of the dialysis process. In years past, plastic containers used to ship Mircera were disposed of after a single-use, creating unnecessary amounts of waste. We’ve since changed to a reusable container that is now emptied, returned, cleaned, and put back into circulation. Not only does this create a sustainable cycle, but it also creates less work for our employees and reduces the cost of Mircera shippers. By moving to reusable containers for Mircera, we kept 38,911 plastic containers out of landfills.
RECYCLING BLUE DRUMS
Our dialysis centers use 55-gallon blue drums for NaturaLyte® and Citrasate®, two concentrates needed for blood filtration. For several years, our centers have sent empty containers back with the delivery driver after a new shipment. Once returned to the warehouse, drums undergo a quality check and are refilled for another use. In 2020, more than 130,000 drums were returned for reuse over the course of the year.
RECYCLING CARDBOARD AND PLASTIC
Last year we distributed designated cardboard and single-stream recycling dumpsters to approximately 250 clinics. These dumpsters provide clinics with the ability to recycle cardboard and plastic. We predict this will take another 12 percent of our recyclable materials out of landfills and intend to expand this program to more locations in the future.
As a new Fresenius Kidney Care clinician, Jesseca Davis, Inpatient RN, identified a simple solution to one of our biggest waste contributors — plastic cups. Jesseca replaced the plastic medicine cups in her clinic with paper, triggering an organization-wide adoption of paper cups, a tremendous cost savings, and reduction of an estimated 46 million plastic cups a year when the program is at full capacity.
“Every day we were using and disposing of 30 to 50 single-use, one-ounce plastic medicine cups at our clinic to hand out capsules and gel caps. That’s 9,000 to 15,000 cups a year at just one location. But you don’t need a plastic cup to hold a gel cap,” noted Davis. “It’s wasteful and totally unnecessary.”
Jesseca Davis, RN, Inpatient Services Nurse
Contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
All corporate responsibility data is from 2020 unless otherwise noted.