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Medical waste no longer being wasted

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May 1, 2010

PELLA-DRX is a building material made from medical waste

PELLA-DRX is a building material made from medical waste

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.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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5 Comments

Let's create a flow for the home users of medical trash like used needles --

to go online, and find a local drop off spot for their used needles, etc.

Facebook User
3rd May, 2010 @ 07:44 am PDT

What's wrong with needles being sterilized and remanufactured into new syringes?

windykites1
4th May, 2010 @ 09:32 am PDT

Now all we need are adorable little robots with treads and arms to make these into buildings. Pixar was on to something...

Jon Davis
9th May, 2010 @ 05:47 pm PDT

Good progress in utilising medical waste.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh
29th June, 2010 @ 06:10 pm PDT

This is burning rubbish..

The autoclave probably burns the rubbish by preheating it and then using the gases produced to increase the temp so the autoclave kills everything and a side effect of that is near total incineration of the waste. how else do you reduce it by 90%.

Just waste incineration by another name.

Karsten Evans
28th March, 2012 @ 05:51 am PDT
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