Medical Waste Recycling Project in the US
December 5, 2012 by
The Stanford University Medical Center, in association with the Cleveland Clinic, has been trying to encourage recycling of plastic in medical institutions and hospitals across the US. According to studies conducted by Stanford University, medical institutions and hospitals generate around 6,600 tons of solid waste everyday, out of which around 25 percent of the waste generated is plastic. So, experts are trying to find out plastic materials that can be recycled to reduce this waste percentage.
Medical Waste Projects at Stanford and Cleveland Clinic
A sustainability specialist and an engineer at Healthcare Plastics and Recycling Council, Peylina Chu, stated that Stanford University has started a program to try and understand various ways to recycle plastic waste in a medical set-up. According to her, the plastic waste that is generated at medical institutions or hospitals is usually non-hazardous in nature and can be recycled easily. Additionally, by recycling these waste materials, the organizations will save up on considerable amount of money.
At present, many hospitals already recycle sterilization wraps, plastic water bottles, and plastic food containers. Stanford University has initiated a similar plastic recycling campaign that has helped them save up on a lot of money. In this initiative, the university recycles all the plastic products that do not come in contact with the patients or the products that are not contaminated.
The waste that is collected by Stanford University is sent to a recycling plant named Greenwaste. This plant is located in San Jose. Out of all the material that is sent to the center, the center’s workers are able to recover around 88 percent of the total waste. Since the facility is a single-stream recycling unit, it manages to recover a good percentage of the recyclable waste during the recycling process.
The Study on Eco-Friendly Medical Waste and Recycling
The Stanford University is using this recycling initiative to study methods through which plastic waste can be recycled in a medical waste waste set-up. This study is based on the waste that is generated in medical laboratories, during surgeries, or in pharmacies. On the basis of this study, Chu stated that the materials that can be recycled in a medical set-up include packaging material, polystyrene fibers, plastic bottles, and polystyrene trays. She adds that the primary purpose of this study is to educate people on the possible ways of recycling plastic and to promote the usage of eco friendly promotional items. Additionally, through this study, hospitals can understand which plastic materials can be recycled easily and which can’t; so they can save up on their expenditure on new plastic products by reusing their old plastic products.