B. Braun and Lehigh Valley Health Network to Collaborate on Recycling Medical Plastics Waste
State Grant Secured by PA Senator Pat Browne to Help Fund Pilot Project
BETHLEHEM, PA – October 18, 2022 – B. Braun Medical Inc. (B. Braun), a leader in infusion therapy and pain management, announced today that it has been awarded a state grant, secured by Pennsylvania Senator Pat Browne, to fund a medical plastics waste recycling pilot project in the Lehigh Valley. The project will investigate the use of advanced technology to recycle non-hazardous plastic waste from B. Braun’s medical device manufacturing plant in Hanover Township and Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Cedar Crest Hospital.
“This project provides an opportunity to make a big impact on the growing challenge of reducing plastic waste from hospitals in our healthcare system,” said Senator Browne, Chairman of the PA Senate Appropriations Committee. “I commend B. Braun and Lehigh Valley Health Network for having the vision to work together to address this important sustainability issue.”
According to the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council, U.S. hospitals generate about 28 million pounds of waste a day, with 20-25 percent of that being plastic products and packaging. Only a small percentage of these plastics are recycled.
“Our goal is to define a clear roadmap for recycling plastic waste streams in the healthcare system,” said Katherine Velekei, Supervisor of Sustainability, Lehigh Valley Health Network. “By testing the technical and economic viability of this project, we will be one step closer to developing a sustainable, circular economy solution for medical plastic waste, which is central to our mission of creating a healthy environment for our patients and communities.”
The concept for a medical plastics recycling project came from B. Braun’s testimony in October 2021 before the Pennsylvania Senate Economy, Business and Jobs Caucus and follow-up discussions with PA Senator Lisa Boscola, co-chair of the Caucus. “The buildup of plastics in our ecosystem is a serious issue that needs to be addressed at multiple levels,” said Senator Boscola. “This initiative is a great example of how government and industry can work together to find solutions to the problem.”
The project helps advance B. Braun’s sustainability strategy. “Not only will this initiative help reduce our own environmental footprint, it allows B. Braun to support the sustainability objectives of Lehigh Valley Health Network, one of Pennsylvania’s leading health systems,” said Christian Hutter, Associate Director, Sustainability and Packaging, B. Braun. “We appreciate Senator Browne’s efforts to secure funding to help make the project a reality and Senator Boscola’s work to bring stakeholders together and build awareness of the issue.”
The companies are working with PureCycle TechnologiesSM, which uses an innovative, patented technology to separate color, odor and any other contaminants from certain non-hazardous plastic waste feedstock to transform it into virgin-like recycled polypropylene. High volume plastics such as packaging materials, non-PVC IV bags, disposable gowns and masks, and irrigation bottles used at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, and scrap materials generated at
B. Braun’s medical device manufacturing plant in Hanover Township, PA will be targeted for collection and recycling.
The $72,500 state grant will help offset the cost of purchasing recycling collection equipment, preparing a third-party project evaluation report, and project administration. The demonstration project is expected to be operational early in 2023.
About B. Braun
B. Braun Medical Inc. (B. Braun) is a leader in smart infusion therapy and safe and effective pharmacy products, patient and provider safety, and sustainable health solutions. Our purpose is to help providers constantly improve patient satisfaction and outcomes. With products and services created to help healthcare professionals focus on what matters most—their patients—we’re uniquely positioned to help health systems succeed now and in the future. B. Braun is headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is part of the B. Braun Group of Companies in the U.S., which includes B. Braun Interventional Systems, Aesculap® and CAPS®. The company employs 8,500 people at over 30 locations across North America.
Globally, the B. Braun Group of Companies employs more than 64,000 employees in 64 countries. Guided by its Sharing Expertise® philosophy, B. Braun continuously exchanges knowledge with customers, partners and clinicians to address the critical issues of improving care and lowering costs. To learn more about B. Braun Medical, explore our website.
Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) includes 13 hospital campuses, four in Allentown, two in Bethlehem, one in Easton, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton, two in Pottsville, one in Lehighton and one in Dickson City, Pa.; 28 health centers; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices; 20 ExpressCARE locations including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE; pharmacy, imaging, home health, rehabilitation and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes: trauma care for adults and children, burn care at the Regional Burn Center; kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer, orthopedics, neurology, complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and robotic surgery in 10 specialties. Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute, Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute, Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence, Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute and Lehigh Valley Fleming Neuroscience Institute physicians provide the most advanced treatments. Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute is a member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, an initiative that helps community providers improve the quality of cancer care and offers access to MSK clinical trials. Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, the community’s only children’s hospital, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest is ranked as the region’s No. 1 hospital for nine straight years and has been recognized among Pennsylvania’s top 10 hospitals for nine consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report. Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest, LVH–17th Street and LVH–Muhlenberg are the Lehigh Valley region’s only Magnet® hospitals for nursing excellence. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org or following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.