By Chee Lum, vice president and general manager of Injection Systems at BD
Over the last decade, Casella and BD have partnered to recover, process, and recycle waste at BD sites across the U.S., growing from 12 sites in 2013 to now more than 30 locations. This waste includes various plastics, glass, and metals across many product lines that would have previously been disposed of in a landfill or incinerator.
Specific to our injection systems product lines and the sites supported by Casella, we are effectively recycling 100 percent of the non-saleable product (such as off-specification syringes and related manufacturing waste) generated from our manufacturing process. Using advanced techniques, we have increased the recycling rate of these material streams by 255 percent over the course of our partnership. For a company like BD that produces billions of syringes every year to enable various clinical applications and routine vaccinations for the flu, COVID-19, and childhood immunizations around the world, this amounts to a significant reduction in the environmental impact of our injection systems product portfolio.
As we take the next step in our sustainability efforts, we are piloting a next-generation circularity program to extend recovery efforts to BD syringes discarded by healthcare facilities. The pilot will assess the feasibility of recycling these products back into the manufacturing process, creating additional local sourcing options and alleviating pressures on the critically challenged supply chain system.
Healthcare facilities are major consumers of syringes and represent a key opportunity for reclaiming these products, which have been particularly difficult to recycle due to the various components and steps involved in the process, including safe handling of bio-hazardous material and treating and sterilizing materials before they can be re-introduced for recycling.
“As the idea of what it means to live in a circular economy gains momentum, we are uniquely positioned to help enable more people, businesses and industries to achieve their circularity goals,” said John W. Casella, chairman and CEO at Casella. “This project is an example of what can happen when we invest alongside our customers to create innovative and operationally sound solutions that advance toward a common goal.”
The team will focus on the collection, treatment, and scaling of solutions while also evaluating a variety of mechanical and advanced recycling capabilities for processing BD products after disposal in healthcare settings. Initial results are expected in the first half of 2023.
The opportunity to drive innovation around material sustainability by building a circular value chain for managing post-consumer healthcare plastics furthers our commitment to addressing and managing the most relevant environmental issues facing our business and stakeholders today. We know work like this can make a lasting, positive impact, which is why we continue to challenge ourselves and our partners to find these opportunities to grow, improve and do what is right. Both BD and Casella are committed to helping build systems that enable short- and long-term value and sustainability.