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Plastic materials used in hospitals and health care centers are rarely recycled, and less than 14% in 2013, according to BCC, a market intelligence firm in Wells Leigh, massachusetts. And since 2013, the recovery rate is unlikely to change significantly.
In addition, medical plastics are an untapped business opportunity for hospitals and recyclers, according to an article entitled "medical plastics: untapped raw materials, untapped opportunities". In fact, the recycling group Ravago told the interviewer: "medical plastic is the last untapped large material stream and has enormous potential for recyclers and manufacturers alike.".
There are two reasons why hospitals and recyclers are encouraged to cooperate:
On the one hand, the hospital takes medical material cost to deal with these may finally put into landfill or by incineration. The recyclers were unable to get those materials, either, and this was bad for both sides.
On the other hand, Bryant pointed out in the article, medical grade plastic quality is generally high, the difference of the melt fluidity, viscosity and tensile strength of the performance is very small. As time went on, the composition of medical plastics changed little.
In early 2017, the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) and the medical plastic recycling Council (HPRC) organized a number of hospital plastics recycling projects in the Chicago region. The results show that it is difficult to sort out recyclable materials in a hospital setting. At present, the recovery of medical plastics has no economic value.
Another challenge to recycling medical plastics is the "ick" (safety hazard) factor. "The common misconception about medical plastics is that they have a potential safety hazard," Bryant says. In fact, medical plastic itself does not carry any germs. The so-called safety hazards are caused by its exposure to biological hazards, materials, drugs and other unsafe materials. Most medical plastics are processed before the patient enters the room. Therefore, the most important thing is to change the public perception of error."
"At present, medical plastic has not yet reached enough quantity to carry out circular economy, and there is no terminal market for recycled medical plastics. In addition, as long as the price of raw materials remains low, there will not be much incentive to use recycled medical plastics." Bryant adds analysis road.