Sustainability in the hospital – An investment in the future

Definition of sustainability and its importance for the health sector

For us, sustainability means protecting our environment while ensuring the health and well-being of all people.

This concept is particularly relevant to the hospital, where resources are used on a daily basis that are not infinite – from medical devices to protective clothing. At the same time, the healthcare system will face major challenges in the coming years:

  • On the one hand, the number of people worldwide – and thus also hospital stays – is increasing strongly.
  • On the other hand, the demands on treatment and care are constantly increasing. The result is an enormous increase in the use of resources in the health sector – from medicines to energy to waste.

This makes it more important to pay attention to sustainability in the hospital and to develop solutions for climate- and resource-friendly as well as environmentally compatible medicine and care.

Why we help the health sector do more for its CO2 emissions

Hospitals are irreplaceable for society and yet they are one of the biggest CO2 emission drivers. With approximately 500,000 existing beds in Germany, each hospital produces a lot of waste and requires enormous amounts of energy for lighting, heating and operating demanding areas such as operating theatres or intensive care units. The daily use of many ventilation systems as well as the consistently high lighting intensity further increase the energy consumption in the hospital.

The European Green Deal, a European concept that aims to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050, is forcing hospitals to act more sustainably in this step. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, this major project is to be put into practice. Climate change is to be stopped.

Through new laws and changes in existing laws, measures should be taken to achieve the government’s climate protection goals. The new “Energy Performance of Buildings Directive” (EPBD) will affect hospitals in particular and encourage them to be more cost-efficient and sustainable.

Experts assume that between 15 and 50 % of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can be reduced through waste avoidance and energy-saving measures within hospitals. The usage behaviour of hospital staff is the crucial point here.

And this is where Vanguard comes in. We extend the product life cycle of single-use medical devices and enable circular economy in healthcare facilities. Compared to the production of a new catheter, we can reduce the carbon footprint of a remanufactured catheter by more than half and thus firmly integrate sustainability into the hospital concept.

The health sector produces more greenhouse gases than aviation and shipping.


of German raw material consumption is accounted for by the health sector.


The health sector is responsible for 4.4% of global greenhouse gas production.

2 GT

Global emissions from the health sector are equivalent to two gigatonnes of CO2.

514 KKW

The annual greenhouse gas emissions of the global health sector are equivalent to the amount of 514 coal-fired power plants.


of the emissions generated by the health sector are primarily caused by its supply chains.

Societal expectations of a resource-conserving and climate-friendly economy have also initiated a fundamental change in the hospital. Sustainability and energy saving are a central economic success criterion of the future and not merely a short-lived government project.

Climate protection measures in hospitals – an overview

Hospitals are faced with the challenge of reducing their energy use and waste while always remaining economical. This requires a rethink in the procedures and processes of daily operations.


A study has shown that

71 % of the hospitals surveyed include climate protection in their climate change adaptation strategy.
38 % of the hospitals have established guidelines and target formulations for energy saving and sustainability,
30 % deal with the topic through a climate manager.


In addition, there are a number of established and applied individual measures:

68 % of the respondents regularly record and monitor their consumption figures,
80 % use shading (e.g. by parts of the building, trees or blinds) to prevent heat build-up, and
74 % have installed heat-insulating windows.


Waste separation plays an important role:

70 % of the hospitals have established concepts for this and
75 % already pay attention to reducing packaging waste when purchasing products.

But there is still room for improvement at the hospital and the goal of the Green Deal has not yet been achieved.

Less waste by reprocessing disposable products in hospitals – a convincing solution

Anyone who has looked behind the scenes in a hospital at least once in their life knows that the amounts of waste regularly produced in German hospitals are very high. Every day, about five to six kilograms of waste are generated per hospital bed. This includes, for example, disposable medical products or non-infectious waste, which the hospital has to dispose of in a time-consuming and cost-intensive manner.

The cost of disposing of medical waste in a maximum-care hospital is about 800 € per hospital bed per year. To counteract waste generation, hospitals pursue the primary goal of waste avoidance. This can be achieved, among other things, through the multiple use of a catheter reprocessed by Vanguard AG.

Our mission

Vanguard AG has set itself the goal of enabling the circular economy in hospitals for innovative medical devices. This is because the responsible use of valuable raw materials in the manufacture and use of complex medical devices is indispensable for ecologically and economically sustainable medical care.

Sustainability, saving energy and protecting the environment are exemplified at Vanguard AG. We are certified according to the environmental management system ISO 14001, have offered the possibility of a home office even before the Corona pandemic and encourage our employees to use the medium of video conferencing more often in order to reduce car journeys. Vanguard AG’s participation in the project Klimaretter-Lebensretter (Climate Savers-Lifesavers) of viamedica – Stiftung für eine gesunde Medizin (Foundation for Healthy Medicine), in which health care workers are sensitised to the careful use of energy and resources, is new.

Vanguard-Medical Remanufacturing Nachhaltigkeit

Our solution

As an innovative medical remanufacturer, we make an important contribution by making disposable medical products recyclable under the highest quality and safety standards. With our pioneering and certified medical remanufacturing processes, we extend the product life cycle of single-use medical devices. In this way, we enable a circular economy in medical facilities (clinics, hospitals) and enable them to operate in a more sustainable and future-oriented manner.

We reduce the clinical need for new products, reduce the disposal of environmentally harmful clinical hazardous waste in hospitals and thus protect the environment, its natural resources and the climate. Another consequence of our activities is the reduction of raw material transports from developing countries to original manufacturers. This allows us to reduce the carbon footprint of a remanufactured catheter by more than half compared to a new production.

Contact us directly and let’s see together how you can optimise your carbon footprint with Medical Remanufacturing to be more sustainable in the long run.

Vanguard is the sustainable choice:

In a groundbreaking study, Fraunhofer UMSICHT compared the new production of a catheter with a catheter restored by Vanguard in terms of their impact on global warming as well as their abiotic resource consumption.