Leading environmentally sustainable change in the medical waste industry
Traditionally, the medical waste industry has not been associated with sustainability. Legislative requirements regarding treatment focusing on patient care and health has seen medical waste compliantly treated and disposed of in the safest manner for the community. Specifically, although single-use disposable containers do ensure a safe and pathogen free solution for sharps waste in sterile environments, the treated containers are problematic when disposed of in landfills. Stepping up to the plate, Med-X Healthcare Solutions, a relatively new kid on the medical waste block, has made significant inroads into providing a circular economy solution for the industry, which is about to revolutionise the sharps container market.
In an Australian first, Med-X has developed a 100% recyclable single-use sharps container system, aptly named SharpCYCLE™. The recovery of single-use sharps containers has been pioneered through Med-X’s investment in innovative contactless process technology whereby collected single-use containers are robotically decanted, separated from their contents, granulated and blow moulded into reusable sanitary waste containers. Med-X has partnered with local Australian recyclers and plastic moulding companies to utilise extruded plastic pellets generated by the SharpCYCLE process in the manufacture of other recycled plastic products, creating a true circular economy.
Through the ground-breaking SharpCYCLE recycling system, the clinical waste segment represented by single-use sharps containers will be almost fully recoverable and diverted from landfill. “It is estimated that this recovery system will reduce sharps container landfill volumes by over 28%. This percentage will certainly grow as the market moves to the single-use container system now that there is a sustainable, recycled alternative,” Van Karas General Manager of Med-X described. “Although there are good reasons to use single-use virgin plastic in sterile environments, the issue unfortunately until now has been the disposal methods both of which negatively impact our environment: incineration adding greenhouse emissions and/or landfill, contaminating our ground and water.”
Around three quarters of the total sharps container market in Australia is currently held by the reusable container segment, which until now has been seen as the only alternative to single-use containers. “It’s important to note, that the hygiene and safety benefits of a single-use sharps container cannot be denied as they reduce needle stick injuries and the potential for cross contamination. Furthermore, now that the impact of single-use containers on landfill is being addressed through the SharpCYCLE system, the single-use sharps container market segment is expected to grow even more,” Karas said.
Investment in sustainable technologies such as SharpCYCLE comes as little surprise to those who know that Med-X and sister-company Shred-X are subsidiaries of Freightways Limited, a publicly listed New Zealand company with a strong commitment to carbon reduction and waste transformation. Shred-X was born of the paper recovery industry over 20 years ago, so the company’s roots are firmly planted in sustainability and remain its mission today.
Staying true to its heritage, Med-X continues to ensure ethical disposal and wherever possible divert treated waste from landfill, finding innovative ways to transform waste into new products. From rethinking eco-friendly procedures and landfill diversion opportunities within the industry, Med-X already recycle medical equipment. The treated and shredded product is recovered by local recyclers, leading to a reduction in disposal costs and landfill volumes.
These waste transformation initiatives and the launch of the SharpCYCLE system are aligned to the Company’s Vision and Mission of Preserving Tomorrow, Today for a Sustainable Future.
Med-X Healthcare Solutions — Be Smart, Be Safe, Be Healthy
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