Chicago Regional Recycling Project Aims to Recover Clean, In-Demand Plastic Materials from Area Hospitals

The demonstration project, led jointly by the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council and SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association seeks to develop a model for all U.S. hospitals to reduce waste and increase recycling.
Mar 24, 2016 10:55 AM ET

March 24, 2016 /3BL Media/ - The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC), in collaboration with SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association (SPI), announced today the launch of a multi-hospital plastics recycling project in Chicago. Focused on non-infectious plastic packaging and products collected from clinical areas of hospitals, the project seeks to demonstrate a viable business model for recycling healthcare plastics. The target goal is to recycle 100 tons of plastics over the project duration. 

“As part of our mission to inspire and enable the recycling of plastics resources, we see this project as a tremendous opportunity to bring together hospitals, recyclers and end-users to connect supply with demand,” says Tod Christenson, director of HPRC. “We’ve already seen recycling successes on a single-hospital basis. The next logical step is to expand upon those successes and validate that beyond the environmental benefits, there exist sound economic benefits—that recycling healthcare plastics makes good business sense.” 

Based on previous pilot studies and research, HPRC estimates that upwards of one million tons of non-infectious plastic materials are available for recovery from clinical settings among the over 5,000 hospitals in the continental United States. Additionally, according to a recent survey conducted by HPRC and Practice Greenhealth, two-thirds of hospital respondents indicated that they were collecting 40% or less of what could be recycled from their facilities.
“Healthcare plastics, including products and primary, secondary and tertiary packaging, can provide valuable feedstock to recyclers and other plastic industry stakeholders,” says Kim Holmes, senior director of recycling and diversion at SPI. “Through this project, we’re aiming to define best practices and develop guidance for both hospitals and recyclers that will enable other cities to replicate this model.”

Initial Chicago-area hospitals participating in the project include Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, and NorthShore University HealthSystem Glenbrook, Evanston and Skokie campuses. At time of press release, other area hospitals are also considering the opportunity to join the project. Potential materials being targeted for collection and recycling include primarily polypropylene and polyethylene resins in the form of sterilization wrap, irrigation bottles, basins, pitchers, trays, Tyvek®, and rigid and flexible packaging materials. 

Companies providing logistics and recycling support include Waste Management of Illinois, Inc., LakeShore Recycling Services, and Antek Madison. Key Green Solutions, LLC, a sustainability management software service provider, will collect and maintain project metrics. Barger, a division of PLACON, will lend additional financial support to the project as interested end-users looking to create new products from the recycled materials, and Petoskey Plastics will supply specialized bags to accumulate and transport the plastic materials.

The project begins today and will and run through November 30, 2016.


About HPRC
HPRC is a private technical coalition of industry peers across healthcare, recycling and waste management industries seeking to improve recyclability of plastic products within healthcare. HPRC is made up of brand leading and globally recognized members including Baxter, BD, Bemis, Cardinal Health, DuPont, Eastman Chemical Company, Halyard Health, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Ravago and SABIC Innovative Plastics. The council convenes biannually at meetings hosted by an HPRC member that include facility tours to further learning and knowledge sharing opportunities through first-hand demonstration of best practices in sustainable product and packaging design and recycling processes. For more information, visit

About SPI 
Founded in 1937, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association promotes growth in the $427 billion U.S. plastics industry. Representing nearly one million American workers in the third largest U.S. manufacturing industry, SPI delivers legislative and regulatory advocacy, market research, industry promotion and the fostering of business relationships and zero waste strategies. SPI also owns and produces the international NPE trade show. Find SPI online at