Can you help overcome plastics recycling challenges?

By Daphne Allen in Sustainable Packaging on October 24, 2017

While studying hospital recycling programs, the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) has observed that “some of the greatest challenges” involve sorting materials and transporting them from hospitals to recyclers. In addition, the amount of materials from a single hospital “did not represent sufficient commodity value necessary to attract the attention of recyclers,” HPRC found.

Could packaging engineers help hospitals and recyclers with such challenges? And are there other challenges that packaging engineers and other stakeholders face?

We’ll examine such topics in the upcoming panel discussion, “Overcoming the challenges of medical plastics recycling,” scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 4:15 PM on Center Stage at MD&M Minneapolis/Minnpack/Plastec Minneapolis at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The following panelists will join me:

  • Curtis Larsen, CPPL, Fellow  |  Package Engineering Consultant, Spartan Design Group LLC
  • Alison Bryant  |  Communications Director, Antea Group and Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council
  • Robert Render  |  Commercial Manager, Ravago Recycling Group
  • Travis Erickson  |  Principal Packaging Engineer, Medtronic, in the Restorative Therapies Group, supporting the Implantables R&D Division

Larsen would like to hear how packaging engineers could help hospitals and other stakeholders overcome recycling challenges. “There may be things we can do as packaging engineers,” he says. For instance, “What can we do to help end-users recycle packaging?”

Questions planned for discussion include:

  • What barriers are there to recycling, and how can they be overcome?
  • Are hospitals making purchasing decisions favoring supplies that can be recycled? 
  • Are there any examples today of successful sorting programs?
  • There’s been some discussion of chemical recycling versus mechanical recycling. Can you define these terms and describe the viability of each?
  • Are there any plastics or packaging formats that pose any particular concerns?
  • HPRC released its Design for Recyclability guidelines a few years ago—can you explain what these are and how they can be implemented?

We’d love to have you join us for the discussion, and we’d love to hear your pressing questions. Attendance to Center Stage is free to all expo attendees. Please join us at Center Stage at 4:15 PM on November 8.

And to attend the co-located conference program at MD&M Minneapolis/MinnPack/Plastec Minneapolis, please use discount code PACK for 20% off.

 

 

 

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