In the latest episode of our NothingWasted! Podcast, we chat with Wade Scheel, director of governmental affairs for Stericycle, which provides customized compliance solutions for a variety of industries and customers.
We spoke about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new management standards, the opioid crisis, extended producer responsibility (EPR) of sharps, where you can learn about staying compliant, what regulations are on the horizon and more.
Here is a preview of our conversation.
Waste360: How is your company helping to respond to the opioid crisis? Are the drug takeback programs helping?
Wade Scheel: Yes, Stericycle is a leader in the arena of offering options, alternatives, programs and services for individuals who want to collect unwanted medications from the public, and that is a substantial mechanism for fighting the opioid crisis. We have seal-and-send envelopes that are offered to pharmacies and others authorized by the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency]—and they can hand these out to the public, and the public simply fills the envelopes and hands them back to one of our destruction facilities. Another mechanism we offer are kiosks that are designed to collect unwanted medicines from the public; these are often placed in pharmacies or hospital lobbies—and again, we send them through for incineration.
Waste360: Are you also seeing progress in dealing with sharps?
Wade Scheel: Yes, we’re seeing a lot of extended producer responsibility legislations and regulations coming down, designed to task the producers, manufacturers and distributors of those sharps with the setup and funding of collection mechanisms. For instance, the state of California is going through a program development phase for implementing this type of system.
Waste360: How has technology played a role in how hazardous waste is being handled and communicated to customers and consumers?
Wade Scheel: We’re seeing technology affect our business in a variety of ways. We’re currently adopting a single platform for managing our business, which will improve our tracking, workflow and reporting. Also, just the awareness and connection with customers and the public via social media platforms has been a game changer. The technology is so much more advanced than it used to be, and it’s exciting to see how it’s helping to spread word of proper waste handling.