Healthcare Facilities Plastics Recycling Guide

The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) has released HospiCycle, a plastics recycling guide for healthcare facilities.  According to the HPRC website, the purpose of the guide is to “help hospitals successfully integrate recycling practices into a patient care setting, and better understand the economic, regulatory, resourcing and infrastructure nuances that come with it”.

The HPRC estimates that healthcare facilities in the US generate around 6,600 tons of waste per day and that 20 to 25 percent of that waste is plastic packaging and plastic products.  85% of the waste is non-infectious so the potential for plastics recycling is large.  The guide is “intended to help hospitals navigate the process of activating a plastics recycling program from initial planning and business decisions through program implementation and improvement considerations”.

The guide is split into four parts listed below:

  • Before You Begin
  • Getting Started
  • Running the Program
  • Improving the Program

The section titled Before You Begin focuses on four main parts. These include Initial Waste Characterization, Commitment to Sustainability, Economic Analysis, and Critical Infrastructure. Each of these subsections contains tools to help determine if a plastics recycling program is appropriate for your facility.

Once you decide to move forward, the guide presents tools to help get started.  The first step is to perform a detailed waste characterization.  This includes waste mapping to identify where waste is created and how it travels through the facility.  The HPRC has developed a Plastics Mapping Tool to aid with this step.  The next action would be to find a recycling partner and using this partner to help develop your recycling program.  Finally, a recycling strategy must be created and the HPRC has developed a tool to aid with this as well.

Once the program is set up, the HPRC has provided tools to help run the program. These include tools for finding resources and establishing infrastructure and logistics.  Additionally, this section includes information on creating a training program and measuring the success of a program.

Finally, the guide provides a number of resources on continuing improvement of the plastics recycling program.  The guide is a great resource for facilities looking to start a recycling program or to help determine if a formal plastics recycling program is appropriate for their facility.

The guide can be downloaded here.

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