An Example of Waste . . . And, Maybe A Solution?


Medical Waste

This is but a small example of how good things wind up going to waste when they could do so much more.

We all come across examples of unnecessary waste every day. Some are more egregious than others. This blog is an example of the sort of thing that unnecessarily (a) drives up costs and (b) causes a disposal problem even though the items still have a lot of life to give to a good cause. In the end, it is an example of serious failure by those we elected to serve us.

What you see in the picture is a pair of adjustable aluminum crutches from McKesson and a boot designed to immobilize a foot after an injury or surgery. My wife had an operation on her foot and needed these items during her recovery. These items were covered by insurance. So far, so good.

Now things seem to get a bit more troubling.

This sort of hardware is considered durable medical equipment. They are of very good quality and certainly fit the description of durable. But that implies that the items should have a long life.

Since we no longer needed these items, I called our local rescue squad to see if they could use them or find them a home. To my surprise, I learned that they don’t accept them but, I could drive about 25 miles and drop them off at a church that will take them.

Well, maybe I will, and maybe I won’t. It depends on when and whether I can get up there to drop them off at a time they are able to accept them.

In my view, this is a terrible waste . . . for everyone except the vendor who sold them! My simple case is but a drop in the ocean compared to all the equipment that goes unused or discarded. I have experienced the same problem with another (electronic) device that is used to stimulate bone growth. This was over $4,000 and I wound up having to just throw it away since the company said they can’t recycle it as they would have to reprogram it. I couldn’t find anyone who would consider this device. That’s nuts.

Of course, the company would rather sell a new device. Given the current system, you probably can’t really blame them.

But surely there is a way that these items, easily totalling hundreds of millions of dollars a year, could be used. It would definitely reduce medical costs for someone else  or it could be accumulated for use as a component of foreign aid.

That led me to wonder about “how” that could be done and I have a simple possible solution.

What if post offices acted as a collection depot for these sorts of goods and periodically forwarded them to some central collection point for further processing. We all know that the post office is a huge government agency looking for something worthwhile to do. Either there is a lot of this stuff and the need will be obvious or, there is very little, and it should prove a minimal problem for an organization the size of the USPS.

Even more important is the fact that this is merely a single example among hundreds or thousands, of what could be done with some creative thinking by citizens to solve our problems.  Oh, and, let’s not forget those 550 plus people we elected to actually solve problems and do something! Other than raise money for their elections! Those elected officials who complain about government waste but don’t work provide solutions shouldn’t be in office.

Den

Simple But Happy

Simple But Happy

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