We thank Jim Johnson from Plastics News for this great article about Best PLUS:
One company is taking medical and pharmaceutical waste, and turning that hard-to recycle material into plastic lumber in Pennsylvania.
Triumvirate Environmental Inc. is not some start-up company with little more than an idea and a sales pitch. The 30-year-old firm, based in Somerville, Mass., does about $120 million in business a year, primarily in hazardous and medical waste management.
With that long history in the business, the firm has developed a plant in Jeannette, Pa., to take in medical and pharmaceutical waste, which has a high percentage of plastic, and produce finished plastic lumber under the BestPlus brand name.
“The idea for BestPLUS recycled plastic wood was really borne from the demand from our pharmaceutical and hospital customers on the waste side of the business. The pharmaceutical sector has an industry wide goal of zero landfill by the year 2020. They are looking to recycle whatever they can,” said Triumvirate CEO John McQuillan.
Triumvirate Environmental acquired two separate companies in 2014 — Medical Waste Recovery Inc. of Jeannette and Northern Plastic Lumber Inc. of Lindsay, Ontario. Equipment from Northern Plastic Lumber was relocated to the Jeannette facility, which now takes in waste and ships out finished plastic lumber under one roof.
The company sterilizes the waste before separating out any metals and processing the remaining plastic and paper into plastic lumber planks.
Throughout the US and Canada, virtually all medical waste is either sterilized and then buried, McQuillan said. “Both of which are fairly unhappy alternatives for this waste.”
With the high plastic content in that waste stream, his company started looking at alternatives. The majority of the stream is high density polyethylene... McQuillan estimated the waste stream consists of 70 to 80 percent HDPE and another 15 percent mixed plastics....
BestPlus plastic lumber can be colored during the manufacturing process or painted by the consumer.
There is no shortage of medical and pharmaceutical waste customers for the operation, but McQuillan said the company has to be careful about how much feedstock the company takes in.
“The demand on the waste side is insatiable. You’ve got these people who are dying for recycling options for these hard-to-recycle items,” he said.