The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) has published a significant update to our Design Guidelines for Optimal Hospital Plastics Recycling. This guidance aims to influence the design of plastic healthcare products and packaging for improved recyclability without deteriorating product integrity or performance.
This guidance has been revised based on current trends, technological advancements, and the expanded membership and knowledge base of HPRC. This work provides recommendations for preferred materials for mechanical recycling processes and describes potential future opportunities for the use of advanced recycling technologies.
“The HPRC Design Guidance is unique in the way that it focuses on designing healthcare products and packaging to be more compatible with current recycling infrastructure,” says Rachel Hogan, R&D Sustainability Engineer – Healthcare at Amcor and HPRC Design Guidance project co-lead. “There are many barriers to recycling healthcare products and packaging today, but it is through resources like this that we can start to shed some light on the possibilities for recycling these materials. The HPRC project team involved in this work was extremely collaborative and I continue to be impressed with both the amount of expertise this group holds and the willingness of the HPRC community to put forth their time and effort to create resources that benefit the entire industry.”
“This is an extensive update compared to the last revision of the Design Guidelines in 2016 and provides more in-depth detail for packaging engineers and product developers,” says Cristina Van Loy, Senior Manager – Environmental Sustainability at Thermo Fisher Scientific and HPRC Design Guidance project co-lead. “The updated guidance represents input across all HPRC members and consensus for how we can make improvements to healthcare plastics for greater recyclability. Additionally, we were able to include input and highlights from other organizations working diligently in this space, including Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), RecyClass, and Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (CEFLEX), resulting in a comprehensive guidance document.”
HPRC appreciates the review and input from APR, SPC, RecyClass and CEFLEX for this update and will continue to revise and update the guidance on a regular basis as technology advances and trends in hospital plastics recycling evolve.
HPRC is currently engaged in multiple initiatives aimed at enabling the recycling and circularity of healthcare plastics, including research into advanced recycling technologies to recycle mixed-stream healthcare plastics and a study of reverse logistics processes for collecting, segregating, and preparing healthcare plastic waste for transport.
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, and to advocate for and help create a more sustainable and circular economy. Made up of brand-leading and globally recognized members, HPRC explores ways to enhance the economics, efficiency, quality and quantity of healthcare plastics collected for recycling, and ultimately a circular plastic solution for the industry. 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.