Potential source for plastic

I recently got the idea to collect plastic from hospitals.
Let me explain: because the demands for things like syringes and scalpels to be absolutely sterile, companies have come up with some pretty smart idea to keep them that way right up to the point of use, think the things outside the syringes (see image below).
As those things are meant to be single use only, and they don’t come into contact with blood or any other dangerous things they would be a great source of plastic. My idea is to get some trash bins meant only for plastics that are safe to handle and reuse. Any ideas and comments are more than welcome.


@clementhempel Sounds good! 😀

@tims I haven’t had the time to go any further with it yet, but I plan to do it in January

Have you had much success progressing this, @clementhempel?

It’d be interesting to know exactly what contaminants could be expected on the plastic packaging and tools (inhalers; syringe barrels, plungers & lids; tubing etc), even if accidentally contaminated. It may be that they’re very easily made risk-free using similar equipment to dental and tattoo sterilising kit. Or even just the heat from washing and/or extruding. I think it’s just radioactive material that would pose a disposal problem. I can’t imagine a syringe cap with blood from even a highly virulent patient will infect the user of the new plastic product. Once the plastic has sat in a bin and any blood has likely dried out, the plastic has then been washed, mixed amongst all the other plastic flakes, and then been heated in an extruder (or similar).

I don’t know if you could collaborate with a local uni or science lab to conduct the research to see if anything hazardous remains in the plastic?

Waste medications are already disposed of by mixing into a jelly and leaving for months to degrade. Perhaps a liquid form could be used to rinse blister packs that have tiny amounts of dust left on them. Wetting powders can be tricky though.

Good luck!!

@a2bservicesguyana That is a fantastic idea, i wasn’t thinking about emergency rooms, but more along the lines of places where they take blood tests, where you donate blood and so on, relatively low stress situations.

You are absolutely right, there are lots of sterile plastics that could be used for recycling. I love the idea, but I am looking at the practical side. Whenever patients are getting involved, you have to thick about everything that can come out of a patient blood, urine and all the other stuff. Plus; sick/ injured people means quick responses in all kinds of situations. And waste separation is not on someones mind in those cases.
And when you look at the separation of the waste, that’s costly and time-consuming.
Maybe a research lab would be a more practical idea, no stress and acute situations…( at least that’s what I imagine)

@a2bservicesguyana That is some really good insight, but even if the needle caps are out of the question, there are still other things that are meant to keep things sterile, i don’t exactly know what they are called, that would still be viable to recycle.

@anris the critique is valid, but there is a solution, an idea could be to ask the boss of the hospital, or the mayor of the city.

Be very careful with this!
From first hand experience, (I am a healthcare workers aswel as a hygiene instructor) I know that procedures are not always followed. And that some things only work in perfect situations where there is no stress and life threatening injuries.

The needle cap should not be put back over the needle to prevent sticking into your own finger after use.
But in practice it does happen! Sometimes you need to put the needle aside, while compressing a vein or reaching for a bandage. And to be “safer” you put the needle back into the cap, ergo traces of blood, medication etc might get into the cap!
I am afraid it will take far to much time and effort for healthcare workers to correctly separate the “clean” plastic from the “contaminated”. And with stress involved, people might unintentionally mix them up.

Great idea @clementhempel !
The big hospitals owned by the state might be hard to coorborate with, as everything going in, out or just staying in the hospital, (such as the the extra trash bins) has to be cleaned and stay super sterile.
They might agree, but i doubt that they will sacrefise money and space, to keep washing the bins and to have them stored.

idea were an solution tho, as smaller medical centers and pharmacies can overcome the extra task of collecting plastic waste in seperate bins. 🙂

@tims that is an absolutely incredible idea, i’ll definitely give it a try. i will keep this post updated

Yep. Hospitals have vast amounts of waste packaging, but pharmacies too. Plastic blister packs sent to nursing homes are hugely wasteful. Independent pharmacies might be willing to try recycling with you.