The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) has published a significant update on regulatory barriers related to healthcare plastic waste recycling in the European Union (EU) in the form of a foundational paper.
Building on insights from the previously published Barriers to Recycling Healthcare Plastics project, this whitepaper aims to provide an understanding of legislative barriers to recycling healthcare plastics, specifically those applicable to the handling of hazardous healthcare waste.
The foundational paper presents the insights gained during this research by answering the following research question:
“How can barriers to the recyclability of hazardous and non-hazardous healthcare plastic waste be identified and addressed, in relation to healthcare system practices and regulations in selected European countries?”
This research has been conducted in collaboration with Aalborg University in Denmark and aims to understand the current regulations on hospital waste in various EU countries. Corporate Research Fellow at Sartorius and HPRC project lead, Magali Barbaroux, shared, “To answer the question we asked them, the students combined enthusiasm, method, and critical thinking and did not hesitate to challenge us.”
“The purpose of the project was to identify where we can see regulatory barriers, use phase barriers and end of life barriers to sustainability with a European context,” shared Mary Corcoran, Regulatory Affairs Manager at Amcor and project co-lead, “Collaboration with Aalborg University and the hospitals in question provided some interesting results that we can further investigate in future projects. The students were very invested and provided a lot of food for thought through their research. “
The goal of this whitepaper is to contribute to advancing the circular economy of plastics in the healthcare industry. In order to create scalable solutions advancing a circular economy, the various barriers, including legislation, to sorting and recycling need to be identified and researched in depth.
HPRC is currently engaged in multiple initiatives across the US and Europe aimed at enabling the recycling and circularity of healthcare plastics. Current project work includes research into advanced recycling technologies to recycle mixed-stream healthcare plastics; a study of reverse logistics processes for collecting, segregating, and preparing healthcare plastic waste for transport; and design guidance to improve the recyclability of medical packaging and products.
HPRC is a private technical coalition of industry peers across healthcare, recycling, and waste management industries seeking to improve the recyclability of plastic products within healthcare. Made up of brand-leading and globally recognized members, HPRC explores ways to enhance the economics, efficiency, and ultimately the quality and quantity of healthcare plastics collected for recycling. HPRC is active across the United States and Europe working with key stakeholders, identifying opportunities for collaboration, and participating in industry events and forums. For more information, visit www.hprc.org and follow HPRC on LinkedIn.