In July of 2017, China announced it is no longer accepting imports of 24 categories of consumer waste, including commonly recycled post-consumer plastics and paper products. Almost every country exported a portion of their recyclables to China – now there are shockwaves being felt around the world as waste piles up and has nowhere to go.
This October, the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC), in conjunction with the Plastics Industry Association, hosted a Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference workshop aimed at helping recyclers learn more about the opportunity presented by healthcare plastics.
Experts from the Mayo Clinic, ACI Plastics, Eastman and other HPRC members presented on what is happening currently with a few of the potential feedstocks coming out of hospitals and the possible future disruptions that might lie ahead.
Lack of loading dock space in which to stage and process materials is a common problem when developing a hospital recycling program. HPRC has developed a complete toolkit of dock space guidance. From mapping material workflow to the 5S workplace organization method, the HPRC dock space gudance blog has very useful advice to help your hospital recycling program.
A number of disposal options are available to healthcare facilities to deal with the non-regulated mixed plastic waste they generate. To help healthcare facilities make a more informed choice, HPRC undertook a life cycle assessment (LCA) literature survey on the environmental impacts of various plastics disposal methods. HPRC’s approach to the survey and its results are described in the HPRC website.