B. Braun Medical has been awarded a state grant, secured by Pennsylvania Senator Pat Browne, to fund a medical plastics waste recycling pilot project in the Lehigh Valley. The project will investigate the use of advanced technology to recycle non-hazardous plastic waste from B. Braun's medical device manufacturing plant in Hanover Township and Lehigh Valley Health Network's Cedar Crest Hospital.
According to the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council, U.S. hospitals generate about 28 million pounds of waste a day, with 20-25 percent of that being plastic products and packaging. Only a small percentage of these plastics are recycled.
The concept for a medical plastics recycling project came from B. Braun's testimony in October 2021 before the Pennsylvania Senate Economy, Business and Jobs Caucus and follow-up discussions with PA Senator Lisa Boscola, co-chair of the Caucus. "The buildup of plastics in our ecosystem is a serious issue that needs to be addressed at multiple levels," said Senator Boscola. "This initiative is a great example of how government and industry can work together to find solutions to the problem."
The companies are working with PureCycle Technologies, which uses a patented technology to separate color, odor and any other contaminants from certain non-hazardous plastic waste feedstock to transform it into virgin-like recycled polypropylene. High volume plastics such as packaging materials, non-PVC IV bags, disposable gowns and masks, and irrigation bottles used at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, and scrap materials generated at B. Braun's medical device manufacturing plant in Hanover Township, PA will be targeted for collection and recycling.
The $72,500 state grant will help offset the cost of purchasing recycling collection equipment, preparing a third-party project evaluation report, and project administration. The demonstration project is expected to be operational early in 2023.