Can You Recycle Oxygen Tubing? (And Reuse it?)

Breathing problems are more rampant than you think, and research has shown that about 1.5 million adults in the US need additional oxygen. Lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, among many others, can result in this need.

So, it’s understandable when the issue of recycling oxygen tubing comes up. After all, since we consume a large quantity yearly, it’s bound to have a degree of positive or negative effects on the environment.

What it’s made of determines how recyclable it is, and that’s what we’re discussing in this blog post. If you use supplemental oxygen or know anyone who does, you may be curious about the most environmentally conscious ways to dispose of the used ones.

Please, read on for more information about how to dispose of them without harming the environment. Let’s get started!

Is Oxygen Tubing Recyclable?

When there’s high consumption of any product, it’s essential to gauge its effects on the environment. That includes how we dispose of it – is it a recyclable material? Or, is it biodegradable, so if it ends up in landfills, it’ll break down fast and not harm the environment?

You need to change oxygen regularly, sometimes as often as four times a year, if you can. So, if you need supplemental oxygen, you likely burn through your fair share of oxygen tubing yearly. How do you dispose of them?

Recycling them is a valid and safe option if you weren’t aware. The tubing is made of vinyl, also known as PVC, one of the most recyclable plastics. Oxygen tubing is a medical waste, but the kind that you can recycle.

Now, since you’ll likely be changing your oxygen tubing about four times a year, it may be best to store them and dispose of them all at once. That way, you won’t have to make frequent trips to the recycling center.

So, how do you recycle oxygen tubing? Ever since the discovery that medical products made from PVC are recyclable, some hospitals have taken on the project. As such, you can save yours up, inquire at your local hospital to find out if they accept used oxygen tubing, and take them down.

You may also inquire if your local recycling center accepts medical waste. If neither option works out, you can use the internet to find the nearest recycling facility that accepts medical waste.

Alternatively, we have many crafty ideas for properly disposing of oxygen tubing if you can’t seem to find a recycling facility that accepts it.

What is Oxygen Tubing Used for?

Although people commonly say oxygen is free, some people need to pay for their supply, and that’s because it has been packaged and prepared specially for them.

These are individuals who have breathing difficulties and require supplemental oxygen. They have breathing disorders and need additional oxygen to improve their quality of life, sleep, and energy levels.

Typically, bad lungs or severe lung conditions prevent some people from breathing on their own, so they need supplemental oxygen. The oxygen tubing is the connection between the oxygen tank and the oxygenation device, which facilitates the movement of the air into the body of the person who needs it.

An oxygen tubing is simply the connector between the source of the oxygen and the nasal mask.

What is Oxygen Tubing Made Out Of?

Latex is a material that’s extracted from rubber trees. Manufacturers rely heavily on it to make various products, including oxygen tubing. So, oxygen tubing is made from latex, but it goes through a rigorous processing stage to become a flexible, see-through material.

It’s a safe material because it’s made from natural substances. So, it’s good for both you and the environment. Latex doesn’t contain harmful substances like formaldehyde, pesticides, or other chemicals manufacturers use to treat materials and prolong their lifespan.

It’s also easier to dispose of, as it’ll decompose fast and certainly won’t harm the environment in the process.

However, some people have latex allergies, so they’ll have to resort to other options. Thankfully, there are other materials manufacturers can use to make oxygen tubing.

Oxygen tubing can also be made from plastic or vinyl. It’s made from polyvinyl, a synthetic polymer. It’s a versatile material that’s highly useful in virtually every field, including healthcare.

When used to make oxygen tubing, it lasts a long time. However, you need to change it as often as four times a year to prevent an infection. In addition, it’s best to dispose of this material properly to keep the environment safe.

Can You Reuse Oxygen Tubing?

One of the ways to conserve our resources is to reuse, repurpose and recycle. That’s why manufacturers strive to produce items that we can get multiple uses out of.

It also reduces the pressure we place on our landfills and sometimes conserves the space there. That way, we won’t need to create new dumps and deprive precious land space of being used for other productive purposes.

In addition, reusing materials conserves energy, both for production and disposal. Most items go through rigorous production processes, consuming fuel and releasing burnt energy into the atmosphere, damaging the ozone layer. The same applies to recycling, so it’s best to produce and recycle only when there’s an absolute need for it.

So, does oxygen tubing qualify as one of the materials we can reuse? Well, it’s medical waste – a person’s oxygen intake and expulsion have passed through that passage for at least 3 months, which is the accepted duration for which we can use oxygen tubing.

As such, it’s not advisable to reuse it. In addition to it being medical waste, you may also catch an infection by using the tubing for more than the recommended duration.

Again, you can reuse oxygen tubing in other capacities, such as for arts and crafts and many other reuse ideas we’ll introduce you to.

Does Oxygen Tubing Expire?

The longer you use a product, the weaker it gets. That’s because most manufactured items are susceptible to wear and tear.

In some cases, it’s best to change a product at specified intervals for your safety and that of the environment. Those items will stop performing their functions when they exceed a particular date.

So, manufacturers have made it essential always to include the expiry date on the packaging of some items.

However, the expiry date doesn’t always indicate that the item will become dangerous for consumption when it reaches the appointed period. Instead, it’s often a warning that the product has been on the shelf for too long and needs to be exchanged for a fresher product.

As such, you may use it for a while longer than the indicated expiration date. However, that doesn’t apply to all products, including medical items like oxygen tubing.

For instance, the oxygen canister will certainly expire when it runs out of oxygen. The amount of oxygen it can dispense will be indicated on the can, so you’ll have a sufficient preparatory period before you run out of your supply.

On the other hand, the expiration date for the oxygen tubing isn’t indicated in the body. However, when you visit the hospital, your physician will tell you how long you’re to use it before you change it. Most times, it can be anywhere between 3 to 6 months; it depends on how often you use it.

The more often, the more frequently your doctor will recommend you change it. That’s because an item like an oxygen tubing may not become susceptible to wear and tear in such a short period, but it may become exposed to dirt, which can grow in or around it and cause infections for whoever uses it.

So, oxygen tubing doesn’t expire, but for hygienic purposes, healthcare practitioners recommend that you change it often. 

How do You Dispose of Oxygen Tubing?

Since oxygen tubing is a product that you may need to dispose of as often as two to four times a year, it’s excellent for the environment when environmentally conscious people consider the most suitable methods of disposing of it.

Typically, you can reuse, repurpose, or recycle an item – these are the safest and most coordinated ways to dispose of an article correctly.

However, reusing is out of our options for oxygen tubing since we know we can’t reuse it because it’s medical waste. So, the other options are to either repurpose or repurpose them.

You certainly know how to recycle oxygen tubing – it’s as easy as taking it with you for your next clinical appointment. You can ask the hospital if they recycle medical waste. You could also make inquiries at your recycling facilities.

Now, repurposing is another option, and we’ve got enough ideas for you. Some of them are:

1. Oxygen Tubing Bracelets

Oxygen tubing bracelets are far more rampant and craftier than you think. There are also many options you can try out, such as glitter bracelets, beaded ones, water-filled ones, among many others.

The best part is that making these bracelets is very easy. But first, you need to prepare the oxygen tubing. It’s best to wash and rinse them out with warm and soapy water, then leave them out to dry.

Next, you can measure your wrists or the wrists of whoever you’re making the bracelets for and cut them into sizes. Then, slide your beads into the bracelet one after the other, and don’t forget to get crafty with them. Combining different colors works and results in a beautiful creation.

Then, for glitter bracelets, you can pour in your glitter carefully, but only after the tubing has adequately dried to prevent clumps.

Finally, for liquid-filled bracelets, you need to have your stopper nearby before filling the tubing with the liquid. Afterward, use the stopper to hold both ends in place. Just like that, you’ve made colorful bracelets that you can either wear yourself or gift out to friends and family.

2. Key Holders

Another option is to make key holders out of the tubing. The process is similar to making bracelets, but you’ll need a key ring and some to hold the two ends in place. You can either fill the tubing with anything you like or paint the body to give it a colorful appearance. Afterward, attach the keyring to the holder.

3. Ornaments

Oxygen tubing is perfect for making any ornament. You can either fill the tubing with your choice or decoration or paint the body when you’re done attaching rings to it.

When you’re done with this craft, you can hang it on a Christmas tree or at strategic points of your house. You can also gift out these crafts.


If you need supplemental oxygen to breathe or know anyone who does, you’re likely familiar with disposing of the tubing that comes with it. Now, you see its effect on the environment and some creative and safe ways to dispose of it.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.