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Medical plastics recycling debate takes center stage at PLASTEC Minneapolis

Medical glove
Stakeholders across the healthcare plastics recycling chain discuss opportunities and challenges.

Are medical plastics a vast untapped business opportunity for hospitals and recyclers? Alison Bryant thinks so. A consultant with international engineering and environmental consultancy Antea Group and Communications Director for the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council, Bryant made the case in a recent article published in Recycling Today. Robert Render, Commercial Manager at Ravago Recycling Group, concurs. They will participate in a panel discussion on the merits of healthcare plastics recycling, along with medical packaging professionals, at the co-located PLASTEC and Medical Design and Manufacturing (MD&M) event in Minneapolis next month.

Medical-grade plastics, by definition, are high-quality materials with little variance in properties such as melt flow, viscosity and tensile strength, and that makes them especially valuable for recyclers, notes Bryant. “These plastics are generated continuously with very little change in composition over time, meaning they are a reliable, high-quality stream coming from willing and eager providers,” she writes in her article, “Healthcare plastics: Untapped feedstock, untapped business opportunity.”

While there are undeniable opportunities, recycling also presents a number of challenges that are unique to plastics used in the medical space. Curtis Larsen, Package Engineering Consultant at Spartan Design Group, and Travis Erickson, Principal Packaging Engineer at Medtronic, will address some of the technical, regulatory and cultural issues associated with materials used in healthcare environments.

“Overcoming the challenges of medical plastics recycling” is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 4:15 PM on Center Stage at PLASTEC and MD&M at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Daphne Allen, editor at Packaging Digest and MD+DI, will moderate.

PLASTEC Minneapolis and MD&M Minneapolis, along with four other co-located events dedicated to packaging, automation, design and manufacturing, and embedded systems, make up the Midwest’s largest advanced manufacturing event. It will welcome more than 600 suppliers and thousands of attendees to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Nov. 8 and 9, 2017. Go to the event website for more information and to register to attend.

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