As part of a pilot project to explore the recyclability of medical waste, Casella Waste Systems and medical company BD recycled 40,000 pounds of material, including syringes and needles.
According to a press release, the U.S. healthcare industry discards more than 3 billion pounds of plastic each year, much of which is difficult to recycle due to biohazard concerns. A pilot project that ran in the first half of 2023 undertook a large-scale effort to assess the feasibility of recycling material from sharps containers using mechanical and chemical recycling.
Both methods showed “favorable results,” and the pilot program will now expand to more hospitals and non-acute care facilities, the press release noted, and to cover other types of medical materials.
Chee Lum, vice president and general manager of injection systems for BD, said in the press release that “needles and syringes help enable a wide range of critical medical treatments and care, but they require plastic for production – which generates waste and is one of the most relevant environmental issues facing the healthcare industry today.”
John W. Casella, chairman and CEO of Casella Waste Systems, added that the partnership allows his company to “provide our expertise and services to a forward-thinking customer like BD to help enable new streams of sustainability and resource management.”
A version of this story appeared in Plastics Recycling Update on Oct. 17.