In order to reduce the amount of waste it deposits into landfills, B. Braun has diverted all manufacturing waste to waste-to-energy. Waste-to-energy, or energy-from-waste, is the process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat from the incineration of waste. Waste-to-energy is a form of energy recovery.
As of 2014, all B. Braun facilities in Pennsylvania and California are officially landfill-free sites.
- In 2014, the Allentown manufacturing plant diverted 1,284 metric tons, or 2,830,000 pounds, of waste from landfills.
- In 2014, the California manufacturing plant diverted 3,529 metric tons, or nearly 9,700,000 pounds of waste from landfills.
- In total, these waste reduction efforts will remove approximately 12,100 metric tons of harmful carbon dioxide from entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Diverting this much waste can:
- Generate 3,080,000 kWh of renewable electricity. Enough to power 3,214 homes for a month.1
- Reduce the need for 1,400 tons of coal, or 235,200 gallons of fuel oil.1
- Recover 280,000 lbs of metals for recycling that otherwise would have been landfilled.1
- The Irvine, CA facility generates approximately 65% of its total electricity demand through the use of two Co-Generation units which produce electricity and steam that is used for the terminal sterilization program.
Incineration is the burning of hazardous waste; it is often the only safe way to dispose of medical waste. The incineration of PVC can release harmful toxins into the air. Many B.Braun products are not made with PVC, reducing the risk of harm to people and the environment during disposal.
- The incineration of PVC products produces toxic HCl and contributes to acid rain.
- When burned, PVC forms dioxins and furans, toxic chemicals that are harmful to the immune and reproductive system.3
- The effects of dioxins and furans released into the environment during production and incineration of PVC have been shown to exert a number of toxic responses including: dermal toxicity, neuro-developmental deficits, immunotoxicity, reproductive effects and tetratogenecity, endocrine disruption, metabolic syndrome and carcinogenicity.32
- Short-term exposure of humans to high levels of dioxins may result in skin lesions such as chloracne, patchy darkening of the skin, and altered liver function.
- Long-term exposure is linked to impairment of the immune system, the developing nervous system, the endocrine system and reproductive functions.
- When deposited into landfills, products made with PVC can leach toxic chemicals into the groundwater.3
1 Covanta Energy from Waste Calculator. http://www.covanta.com/sustainable-solutions/efw-calculator.aspx.
2 Data available upon request from B. Braun Medical Inc.
3 Center for Health, Environment, and Justice. December, 2004. PVC: Bad News Comes in Threes. The Poison Plastic, Health Hazards and the Looming Waste Crisis. http://chej.org/wp/content/uploads/Documents/PVC/bad_news_comes_in_threes.pdf
32 Hedley AJ, Wong TW, Hui LL, Malisch R, Nelson EA (2/2006) Breast milk dioxins in Hong Kong and Pearl River Delta. Environ Health Perspect; 114(2):202-8.