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Water Jet Cutting Helping Medical Profession Recycle

If you go to see the doctor, dentist or surgeon you may not wish to see a water jet cutting machine.

For all the accuracy, and the fact it is inert, we are probably not yet at a stage where people want 80,000 PSI water jet cutting to lance a boil or cut off a skin tag.

However, water jet cutting is increasingly proving its worth to the medical profession, and its ability to help recycle plastic waste is just one example.

Plastic waste is a huge issue for the medical profession with millions of items of waste created every day. These vary from plastic implements, swabs, Covid tests and more, but also the wrappings many items come in – even with plastic packaging reduced.

Many of these factors are common to other industries, but the medical profession also has its own challenges.


• Contamination concerns: Medical plastics may have come into contact with biohazards.
• Mixed plastic types: The blend of materials complicates recycling processes.
• Sterilisation requirements: There is a need to ensure the safety of recycled material
• Economic viability: Traditional recycling may not be cosy effective, can water jet cutting remedy this?

Water jet cutting tackles many of these issues, with inherent benefits rather than having to retroactively find solutions.

By using an inert cutting force of water and garnet, all risk of contamination is removed and there is also no risk to humans – they can be well away, simply operating the machinery.

The accuracy of the cutting also ensures that plastic parts are broken into their parts, or can be cut to ensure the plastic is separated from other materials.

Cost can be a concern, this if there are major set-up costs. An option for many can be to work with experienced water jet cutters and so send their waste to them for cutting and recycling.

Water jet cutting can be suitable for all the following, though this list is not exhaustive.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride): Used in IV bags and tubing.
PE (polyethylene): Found in syringes.
PP (polypropylene): Used in medical containers.
PS (polystyrene): Used for petri dishes and lab ware.

An interesting extended take on water jet cutting for the medical profession can be found on the Medical Plastic News site