Orthotics Recycling Program at Novitatech
Novitatech is home to some of the most passionate, hardworking and talented orthotists in the business and for orthotist Amy-Beth Seeley, living and breathing the Novita values comes as a top priority.
Having not only a passion for helping improve the lives of others through her work, and also the environment, Amy-Beth has led the charge in developing a recycling program specific to the orthotics department at Novitatech.
Orthotists are required when clients present with muscles or bone structures which require extra support so that movement can occur easily and a common way to provide this is with external support in the form of orthotics.
Some examples of orthotics that you might be familiar with include foot orthotics which can be used to support flat feet, splints, walking boots and ankle-foot orthoses can also be made to suit each person’s individual body and needs.
Since the recycling program was introduced approximately 8 months ago, 119 kilograms of cardboard, 222 kilograms of plastic (including thermoplastics and offcuts) and 316 single use plastic bags have been eliminated from being sent to landfill.
“This recycling program is important for Novita because of our values. We care about people and that should extend beyond the individuals themselves, we have to care about our environment and the world that we’re creating for them.”
Amy-Beth saw the need for change in the orthotics department due to the large amounts of waste that the process of creating individual orthotics for clients creates.
“We are a department that consumes and then produces waste, particularly with kids growing all the time and so, because I’m passionate about the environment, I felt we needed to be doing more,” says Amy-Beth.
In order to make lasting and effective changes, Amy-Beth‘s first step was to look at the biggest areas of waste produced in the orthotic-making process and assess if there was opportunity to eliminate or recycle instead of sending byproduct to land fill.
On average, the Novitatech orthotics team makes 50 pairs of orthotics per month and until Amy-Beth started her program, each pair was coming wrapped in single use plastic bags.
“That was something that needed to be eliminated, so I called the supplier and asked them to stop, now they come with a rubber band only, that in itself has massive impact on our environment,” says Amy-Beth.
“I found a place in Adelaide called Recycling Plastics Australia, which is able to take our unwanted plastic offcuts and waste and repurpose them for construction materials, park benches, fences in communal spaces and recyclable packing for different brands, so that’s massive,” she says.
The program has also offered Transition To Work participant, Riley, who has a keen interest in prosthetics, the opportunity to assist with the recycling program by helping to weigh and deliver plastics to the recycling center.
Orthotics can’t be made from recycled material due to the integrity needed for the correct strength and support, so clients requiring orthotic services from Novitatech are very engaged and excited about the program – some bringing in as many as six of their old pairs of orthotics to be recycled.
Clinical Lead at Novitatech, Lisa Dodds, has expressed gratitude not only to Amy-Beth, but the wider team for embracing this important initiative, “Amy-Beth has inspired our whole group, I’m really proud of the team,” she says.
The program continues to go from strength to strength, pushing the ultimate goal to minimise waste within the orthotics department, while also inspiring others in the Novita organisation to be environmentally conscious and make changes both at work and home.