Focus on reuse: reducing waste associated with topical preoperative antiseptics

Lydia Lam, Liana Dedina, Stephen Bacchi, Stewart R. Lake, Weng Onn Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose:To outline the environmental and financial costs associated with single-use topical antiseptic (5% povidone-iodine [PVI] solution) in the ophthalmology theatre setting and explore potential methods of repurposing topical antiseptics.Setting:Large tertiary referral center (Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia).Design:Single-center prospective observational study.Methods:Dedicated containers placed in the ophthalmology theatre of the participating institution were used to collect the number of disposed PVI bottles over the 3-week study period. Descriptive statistics were employed to determine the associated packaging bottle weight, mean unused quantity (mL) and cost of the single-use topical PVI solution and costs of unused antiseptic.Results:The total amount of waste generated from the use of single-use PVI bottles during the surveillance period was 10.823 kg, of which 21.9% was preventable; 72% of unused PVI by weight were discarded during the study period, equating to approximately $21 857.60 in wasted pharmaceutical content per year. 100% of the discarded PVI was successfully redirected and reused at a local wildlife rescue organisation and diverted from landfill.Conclusions:This study has demonstrated that the utilization of single-use topical preoperative PVI preparations is associated with significant financial, pharmaceutical and environmental waste. Future studies examining the recyclability of single-use PVI bottles and investigating systematic strategies to recycle and repurpose this waste are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1128-1132
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • single-use topical antiseptic
  • preoperative antiseptic
  • Opthalmology
  • waste reduction


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