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Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council Offers Product Design Guidelines; Seeks to Improve Recyclability of Plastics Post-Use

Wed, 11/16/2011 - 5:02am
St. Paul, MN – The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) has concluded work on a set of guidelines that offer useful product and packaging design considerations for improving the recyclability of disposable plastic products. The Design Guidelines for Optimal Hospital Plastics Recycling takes a look at product and packaging design features that inhibit post-use recycling potential and makes design recommendations that could enhance product recyclability.

Understanding that product recyclability fits into a broader context of product functionality requirements, hospital operations and economic viability, these guidelines identify and articulate desirable design practices and less desirable design practices. Examples of desirable design practices include eliminating multiple material types used within one discrete product, avoiding paper tapes or labels attached directly to products, allowing for post-use identification and removal of product residue and minimizing the use of pigments in products.

HPRC intends to begin implementation of the guidelines within its member companies this year, as eight of its eleven current members have healthcare product design and manufacturing operations. The complete Design Guidelines for Optimal Hospital Plastics Recycling document is available for download at www.hprc.org.

These guidelines were developed based on findings from a pilot study jointly conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, Engineered Plastics and Waste Management. This pilot study evaluated the recyclability and best practices of pre-patient operating room plastic waste. The resulting guidelines have a very specific application and are intended to supplement existing plastics packaging and sustainability efforts in healthcare.

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 eleven brand leading and globally recognized members including Baxter, BD, Cardinal Health, DuPont, Eastman, Engineered Plastics, Hospira, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly Clark, Philips and Waste Management. 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 www.hprc.org.

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