I have had several requests over the past month on where to recycle Prosthetics and Implants. Prostheses are artificial limb replacement. They can be arms, hands, feet and more. They are a substitute for a limb lost in wartime, accidents, birth, illness. Cosmesis on the other hand are cosmetic substitutions such as eyes and ears. With the cost of artificial limbs and implants rising and the longer life span, the need for affordable limbs and implants is getting strong.

Orthotic-Prosthetic
Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics collecting limbs for distribution in the Philippines

Recycling and reusing these valuable body parts is part of a strong movement in Green Burials.

I Just Gotta Eco Ya

  • There are nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the United States
  • Approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States each year.
  • Over 2 Million Amputees in the USA alone.
  • Currently there are 65 countries involved in war
  • 2012: 1500 Americans have lost a leg or arm in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan
  • Afghanistan: 2001- over 300 people a day were hurt by land mines every month in Afghanistan
  • Cambodia:Landmines kill or injure two Cambodian people every day
  • Diabetic are 15 times more likely to undergo amputations than other people without the condition.
  • 4 out of every 10,000 babies will have upper limb reduction and 2 out of every 10,000 babies will have lower limb reductions.
  • Prosthetic limbs cannot be reused in the USA, although, they can be reused in other countries. If not, they can be broken down and mined for the materials.
  • The price of a new prosthetic leg can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000

What can be recycled? Prosthetic Limbs, pace-makers are mined for the metals such as titanium, cobalt alloy, gold fillings from teeth, dental implants

Where to Recycle Prosthetic Limbs 

  1. Amputee Coalition of America, states “Prosthetic components are generally not reused in the United States because of legal considerations. However, used prosthetic limbs may be disassembled and the components shipped to Third World countries for use by landmine victims and/or other individuals in need.” See their Website for a list of organizations in the U.S. that accept donations of prosthetics.
  2. Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics  (Gettysburg, PA) www.abilitypo.com Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics has teamed up with Physicians for Peace.  Their goal is to collect old prosthetic parts and ship them overseas so that more amputees will have greater access. They will accept prosthetic donations at all their facilities in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
  3. Alternative Solutions (Spring Valley, CA) Non-Profit dental and implant recycling. Gives back to other charities.
  4. Angels with Limbs (Long Branch, NJ)  www.angelswithlimbs.org: Angels with Limbs is a charitable, non-profit corporation soliciting unused artificial limbs so as to recycle their usable prosthetic components in fabricating a new prosthesis for needy un-insured or under-insured New Jersey amputees.
  5. Barr Foundation c/o MedShare International  (Decatur, GA)  www.oandp.com This fund pays for materials and fitting of a new prosthesis after the prosthetist has established that there are no other sources of funding available. The Barr Foundation also accepts monetary, used and new prosthetic devices and components, and will acknowledge all donations with our federal non profit federal tax identification number for tax purposes.
  6. Bowman Siciliano Limb Bank Foundation (Weatherford, TX) www.danabowman.com This Foundation collects and distributes all forms of prosthetic limbs to those in need. They collaborate at times with other foundations to assist in countries outside the U.S. and prosthetic labs across the U.S. They raise funds to provide transportation, lodging, and prosthetic limbs and services to those in need.
  7. Enviro-Medical Implant Recycling
  8. Implant Recycling (Detroit, Michigan) Picks up metals from crematoriums for recycling.
  9. Limbs for Life Foundation (Oklahoma City, OK)  www.limbsforlife.org; Collect and distribute used prosthetics and prosthetics free of charge to amputees in third world countries. Parts are utilized to create prostheses for their recipients, thus reducing the costs for the prosthetist. They also accept unused socks or liners.
  10. Limbs of Hope Foundation (Jordan, UT) www.limbsofhope.org: The Limbs of Hope Foundation accepts new and used prosthetics that are to be sent across the globe. They also provide recreational opportunities and recreational equipment for underdeveloped countries, as well as remodeling clinics in countries torn by war and/or illness.
  11. Limbs of Love (Houston, TX)www.limbsoflove.com Improve the quality of life for amputees, primarily in Texas. Through the support of The Amputee and Prosthetic Center, prosthetic manufacturers, and medical personnel from the Houston area, Limbs of Love will be donating as many as 20 prosthetic limbs with a value of over $250,000 to those who have suffered the loss of a limb and have been previously turned away.
  12. Michigan Society to Advance Rehabilitation, Inc. (M-Star) ( Warren, MI) m-star.org/donations.htm Provides peer support and aid to those who have lost one or more limbs either through traumatic or surgical amputation.
  13. National Amputation Foundation (Malverne, NY)  www.nationalamputation.org Offers assistance to veterans of World War I, II, Korea, the Vietnam Conflict, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Has expanded its facilities to include civilian amputees as well.
  14. OrthoMetals,(Netherlands) works with crematoriums for metal recycling
  15. Pace4Life (UK) goes to funeral parlors and picks up prosthesis like pacemakers for use in India
  16. Physicians for Peace (Norfolk, VA)  23510 www.physiciansforpeace.org:  International non-profit, medical education organization dedicated to building peace and international friendships in developing nations with unmet medical needs and scarce resources.
  17.  Prosthetic Hope International, Inc. (Atlanta, GA)
  18. Standing With Hope–  (Nashville, Tennessee)  Works with Corrections Corporation of America, to disassemble the donated limbs, and we recycle all the usable parts.
  19. The International Foundation for the Physically Disabled (Folsom, CA) www.theifpd.org. Provide necessary and appropriate prostheses, orthotics and durable medical devices for various individuals of limited financial means, as well as victims of war and the disabled in third world & developing countries.
  20.  The Prosthetic and Orthotic Component Clearinghouse /MedShare International  (Decatur, GA) usispo.org Provide a mechanism for people to make tax deductible donations of new and gently used prosthetic and orthotic goods while in turn affording non-governmental organizations (NGOs), P&O practitioners, and developing world schools and facilities access to these badly needed supplies.
  21. Volunteers for Inter-American Development Assistance (VIDA)  (Emeryville, CA) www.vidausa.org Nonprofit medical relief and development assistance organization. They have provide medical aid to Latin America. They are currently attempting to acquire prosthetic limbs for victims of landmines.
Resources
  • Amputee Coalition of America– Fact Sheet on recycling Prosthetic Limbs and where to donate.
  • Journal of Mine Action– Victim Assistance
  • Mines Action Canada–
  • US  Policy on Mine Removal in Afghanistan
  • Cartagena Summit- www.CartagenaSummit.org
  • Anti Personal Mine Ban Convention Implemention Support www.apminebanconvention.org.-Seeks to eradicate the use, production, stockpiling, transfer and the destruction of mines across the world
  • World Vision’s Advocacy site http://www.worldvision.com.au/getinvolved/advocacy
  • The International Campaign to Ban Landmines http://www.icbl.org/
  • Mines Advisory Group http://www.mag.org.uk/
  • Demining Research at the University of Western Australia http://www.mech.uwa.edu.au/jpt/demining/
  • Mine Action Information Centre at James Madison University, USA http://www.maic.jmu.edu/
  • The United Nations Mine Action Service http://www.mineaction.org/

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