Back in the 70’s, Mad Magazine ran a satirical article proposing crazy new methods of dealing with garbage. One of them involved taking the trash, compressing it into cubes, then building things out of those. Flash forward to 2010, and a Houston company is doing almost that very thing, and with medical waste, no less. Sharps Compliance takes items like needles, syringes and lancets, and presses them into a pelletized building material called PELLA-DRX.
Sharps specializes in the disposal of injecting supplies from individuals and clinics. The waste is already being sent into them by the users, so no transportation is required solely for the production of PELLA-DRX. To make the product, the waste is first sent through an autoclave, which kills any pathogens. Next, it goes through a shredder, which reduces its volume by over 90%. Finally, it gets compressed into pellets, which bear no visual clues as to their origins.
Sharps claims it utilizes 100% of the waste it receives, so absolutely none of it ends up in an incinerator or a landfill.
PELLA-DRX is currently being used to make cement, although Sharps foresees it also finding its way into the production of lime and steel. Because it reportedly has a BTU content equal to coal, they also see it being used in the production of power - if they’re suggesting it be burned, however, you have to wonder about all that plastic going up in flames.