Metals recycling from clinical wastes

The Dutch firm Orthometals is successfully operating a metals recovery service for crematoria, collecting implant metals, and if they’re lucky the odd gold ring and several shiny gold tooth caps and fillings.

The recovery of metals from crematoria is an important, and obviously valuable, trade that should be applauded. Metals recycling is of proven value and it would be wrong to ignore this valuable resource. So too with single use surgical instruments, and hypodermic needles. Though the net value may be less there will be some quantity of valuable metals that might be recovered and if input volumes are sufficient then no doubt the technology exists to extract the value from this waste which would likely end up in landfill. Since most operators can expect bulk metals outputs in either form perhaps this is a trade ready for exploitation.

Regrettably, the posturing of the Environment Agency had frustrated recycling of and materials recovery from the increasingly popular single-use instruments, waste from which was being measured in tonnes, easily separated post-processing or by the use of dedicated containers for source segregation. So too with other recyclates including plastics and latex gloves, but that is another story.

With innovative companies such as Orthometals, perhaps Holland or some other EU country will support the further development of this trade and show the way for even the most recalcitrant regulatory authorities.






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