The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Advocate Health Care and Cleveland Clinic to its Healthcare Facility Advisory Board (HFAB), a role intended to help the council set priorities and steer the agenda towards its mission of inspiring and enabling sustainable, cost-effective recycling solutions for plastic products and materials used in the delivery of healthcare. Specifically, HFAB members assist the council in identifying high-value needs and opportunities for action, share first-hand perspective and understanding of recycling barriers that exist within their facilities, and provide access to data, information, and resources at the hospital level.
“With a problem as complex as healthcare plastics recycling, stakeholder input is vital,” says Peylina Chu, Director of HPRC. “Based on their recycling program experience, reputation within the industry and commitment to sustainability, both Advocate Health Care and Cleveland Clinic are perfectly positioned to provide valuable insights into the challenges of recycling within patient care settings, which will help inform HPRC activities as well as improve our tools and effectiveness.”
Advocate Health Care recently participated in a regional recycling program in the Chicago area, facilitated by HPRC and PLASTICS, that sought to connect healthcare plastic supply with demand through stakeholder coordination with hospitals, logistics providers, recyclers, and end users. Cleveland Clinic participated in HPRC’s first pilot study in 2009, providing data, initial waste characterization and best practices from their clinical plastics recycling program.
“For a variety of reasons, clinical plastics recycling can be both complex and challenging,” said Katie Wickman, Sustainability Manager for Advocate Health care. “As an organization dedicated to sustainable health care, we are eager to partner with HPRC to find innovative solutions that not only support our own waste reduction goals but can help other health care organizations on their journey to sustainability as well.”
“This HFAB work aligns with Cleveland Clinic’s goal to reduce its material impact by diverting material from the landfill, which improves water and air quality and the health of our patients,” said Jon Utech, senior director for Cleveland Clinic's Office for a Healthy Environment.
“What truly impressed me about HPRC is their project-based approach to improving healthcare plastics recycling at all points along the value chain, with all of the key stakeholders involved – from manufacturers, packaging designers, recyclers and end users,” said Ilyssa Gordon, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Medical Director for Sustainability in the Robert J. Tomsich Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “Working together, we are addressing the most pressing challenges of recycling plastics in our hospitals, looking both upstream and downstream, to effect positive and meaningful change in this sector.”
HPRC is currently engaged in multiple initiatives aimed at enabling recycling of healthcare plastics, including: recycling pilot study programs at select healthcare facilities, development of a how-to guide, called HospiCycle, for hospitals seeking to recycle healthcare plastics generated in their facilities, development of plastic product and packaging design guidelines to improve end-of-life recyclability, and resin testing of the technical limitations in plastics reprocessing.
Additional healthcare advisory board members include Ascension Health, Kaiser Permanente, Hackensack University Medical Center, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.