With daily use, CPAP machines are certainly prone to wear-and-tear – and will eventually need to be replaced
For landfills, this is considerable plastic simply thrown away. However, the good news is that many CPAP machines can be recycled.
Why Recycle CPAP Machines?
Apart from the environmental concerns from just throwing away old machines, recycling them can help others lead healthier lives. Indeed, a recycled CPAP machine could be a lifesaver.
A brand-new machine can cost between $1500 to $3000. By donating your old machine, you can help someone without the insurance coverage to receive a CPAP machine at a discounted price.
Therefore, a recycled machine can be invaluable to anyone who can’t afford a new CPAP machine. When you donate a machine, you can also receive a tax letter or receipt for your tax-deductible contribution.
Your donation can help US citizens get cheaper access to CPAP, but you can also donate to organizations who send them abroad. One such company is MedWish International, who sends CPAP machines along with other medical equipment to developing countries.
How to Recycle Your CPAP Machine
There are a number of organizations who can recycle your old CPAP machine when it is no longer required. These may have slight differences in their criteria for accepting machines -- and it is worth inquiring about any criteria first.
However, unless the machine is over 10 years old, most machines can be recycled, and it is a straightforward process.
Established sleep specialists such as The Sleep Doctor will take CPAP machines which are less than four years old – as long as the machines have not been exposed to smoke or pets. They use qualified medical equipment companies to safely recycle the machines for re-use by those who cannot afford the price of a new machine.
An organization that recycles and sells CPAP machines at a reduced price is Minnesota-based Secondwind CPAP. They will buy, clean, test and sell your old machine, providing it is in working condition and less than 10 years old. Again, they are looking for machines which have not been exposed to a smoking environment.
Secondwind CPAP also has a partnership with the American Sleep Apnea Association to provide free recycled machines to those most in need. You can also donate your unwanted machines directly to the American Sleep Association.
Can I Recycle Other CPAP Parts?
Rather than adding to the levels of plastic discarded across the world, it is always best to look for ways to recycle or reuse other CPAP components such as the tubing.
However, organizations like the American Sleep Association only accept factory-sealed masks and tubing, not those that have been previously used.
You can inquire whether your local recycling center will accept CPAP component parts. CPAP masks contain silicone, but local recycling plants can have occasional ‘hard to recycle’ days when you can offload old CPAP masks and tubing.
However, the tubing could be reused around the home or garden once thoroughly cleaned.
Many people are getting creative these days, thinking outside the box to reuse household items rather than sending them to landfill. For the keen gardener, discarded CPAP tubing could be just the thing to help with a home-made water irrigation system.
Can I Sell an Old CPAP Machine?
Yes, you can sell a CPAP machine which you no longer need. There are companies such as Secondwind CPAP who we mentioned earlier who buy old machines and recycle them to resell at a discounted price. Once more, you will need to check the criteria of each store to ensure they will accept your machine.
Second hand stores which accept your old machines will clean them and test them before putting them up for sale. They can offer a solution for people who cannot afford a new machine or whose insurance does not qualify them for CPAP. Without a discounted machine they may not get the treatment to tackle their sleep apnea symptoms. This increases their risk from serious health complications.
The recycled machines come with a warranty and qualified customer support. However, due to FDA regulation these stores are unable to accept parts such as CPAP masks and tubing unless in their factory sealed packaging.
Some people may look to sell their old CPAP tubing and masks online. However, old tubing and masks are prone to cracks and wear and tear which can affect the efficiency of the treatment. It can result in air leaks, meaning the recipient does not receive the required levels of oxygen from their machine.
Just as relevant is the sanitary side of selling old tubing and masks. Bacteria and germs can accumulate when used, which is why these parts need to be cleaned regularly. However, it is hard to know if your old parts have been fully sterilized and are germ-free when selling. Therefore, it is usually best to look for other means to recycle CPAP masks and tubing.
In a world increasingly cluttered by single-use plastic and other discarded materials, recycling is an important means to tackle such waste. CPAP machines need to be replaced from time to time.
However, there are organizations where you can send your old machines for recycling, where they can be passed on to those who may not be able to afford a new machine.
By recycling your machine, you could help someone with sleep apnea breathe and sleep easier at night who otherwise may not have the opportunity.