Estimates indicate that there are about 1 million tons of clean, non-infectious healthcare plastics generated in U.S. healthcare facilities each year. While the potential of this largely untapped waste stream is obvious, how to access this waste stream can be less clear.
Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council
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On a global basis only about 14 percent of plastic packaging is collected for recycling, and across the healthcare sector these rates are significantly lower. As noted in the World Economic Forum's 2016 white paper, The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics: "Today's plastics economy is highly fragmented. The lack of standards and coordination across the value chain has allowed a proliferation of materials, formats, labelling, collection schemes, and sorting and reprocessing systems, which collectively hamper the development of effective markets. The development and introduction of new packaging materials and formats across global supply and distribution chains is happening far faster and is largely disconnected from the development and deployment of corresponding after-use systems and infrastructure."
Healthcare Plastics Recycling council begins pilot study to broaden understanding of mixed plastics recycling in healthcare
The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) has finalized an agreement with Stanford University Medical Center that will set in motion a six-month pilot study to develop a betterunderstanding of plastic waste characterization within healthcare facilities. The study will collect and analyze data related to materials, types, volumes and sources of pre-patient plastic waste at Stanford Hospital and Clinics in Palo Alto, California.
In May (2012) the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) welcomed SABIC, a leading global supplier of engineering thermoplastics, as its newest member, bringing the total council membership to 13 companies.
The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) (as of Jan. 9, 2012) has welcomed Baxter, Eastman Chemical Company and Philips as members to help drive its mission of inspiring and enabling sustainable, cost-effective recycling solutions for plastic products and materials used in the delivery of healthcare.
The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) has concluded work on a set of guidelines that offer useful product and packaging design considerations for improving the recyclability of disposable plastic products. The Design Guidelines for Optimal Hospital Plastics Recycling takes a look at product and packaging design features that inhibit post-use recycling potential and makes design recommendations that could enhance product recyclability.