In a bid to increase sustainable practices Melbourne Health has partnered with Legs4Africa an organisation that recycles prosthetic legs that would otherwise end up in landfill.
Legs4Africa has only just opened its Australian branch of the organisation after its success in the UK.
The RMH prosthetics and orthotics (P&O) team are one of the busiest providers of prosthetic rehabilitation and fabricate hundreds of artificial limbs every year.
The fabrication process inevitably results in large amounts of plastic and metal waste.
Mark Graf, head of Prosthetics & Orthotics at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) said the project all began when the department began investigating ways to better recycle its products.
“A lot of amputees will have three maybe four limbs in their cupboards that either get thrown out or they don’t know what to do with them, this gives people the opportunity to recycle them and get them reused,” Graf said.
Legs4Africa partners with men’s sheds to help assist with the labour intensive part of dismantling the legs. Giving an opportunity for retired gentlemen to practice new activities to reduce loneliness.
This also means the organisation is very sustainable, with a team of trained experts building the legs for amputees.
Dr Marlena Klaic, Melbourne Health Leader for Allied Health Research Translation said the project is a positive step for everyone involved.
“The original idea was working out ways to reduce landfill, this is the best outcome because it’s not only reducing the impact of landfill, its reuse which takes far less energy than recycling. Melting metals down takes a lot of energy,” Dr Klaic said.