Ingenium, an environmental services company that provides hazardous waste management solutions for a wide range of industries, recently announced the launch of Bio-INergy, a sustainable solution for medical red bag waste. This is one of the first of its kind in the U.S.
The company’s Bio-INergy program renders red bag medical waste into solid trash using a state-approved technology. That trash is then converted into energy and put back onto the electrical grid.
Waste360 sat down with Escondido, Calif.-based Ingenium’s CEO Heather Dody to discuss how this unique waste-to-energy (WTE) process works.
Waste360: How does Ingenium’s waste-to-energy system for medical waste program work?
Heather Dody: Here at Ingenium, as an innovative company, we are always seeking new technologies and partnerships to develop sustainable solutions for our customers. We are so excited to be able to take advantage of technological advancements in order to be able to develop this process for moving red bag medical waste to energy. Our exclusive waste treatment partnerships enable us to continue to innovate for our customers.
The Bio-INergy process is a natural extension of our successful Emerald Energy program and is the latest innovation in Ingenium’s drive towards greater sustainability of hazardous and other regulated waste. Through this process, red bag medical waste is rendered into solid trash utilizing state-approved alternative technology. The solid waste is then converted into energy and put back onto the electrical grid. Designed specifically for generators of red bag medical waste, Bio-INergy offers a sustainable alternative to autoclave and landfill treatment and/or reduces an organization’s carbon footprint by avoiding out-of-state incineration.
Waste360: How will programs like Bio-INergy affect businesses?
Heather Dody: Sustainability is becoming a strategic objective for all corporations. Some even produce annual sustainability reports in addition to yearly financial reports. As this commitment becomes more the rule rather than the exception, programs like Bio-INergy will be more important to an organization’s strategic business goals. If a company’s hazardous or regulated waste is being buried or burned without sustainable options being explored, consider this as well: modern hazardous waste management solutions that incorporate such practices often save companies money while also helping reduce risk and liability.
Waste360: How much energy can the system create vs. how much waste can the system process?
Heather Dody: One of our partners estimates that for every 1 ton of waste processed, 550kWh of electricity is produced; enough to power 1 home for an entire month. This also reduces the reliance on coal or 42 gallons of fuel oil, and avoids 1 ton of Co2 equivalent greenhouse gases.
The Bio-INergy program can process up to 10,000 pounds of red bag medical waste daily.
Waste360: What makes Ingenium’s system different or unique from other WTE systems?
Heather Dody: There really were not many options for generators of red bag medical waste to dispose of such materials other than the autoclave-to-landfill or out-of-state incineration method. Bio-INergy is a sustainable process that offers generators the dual benefit of a sustainable result and in-state option.
Waste360: What are the benefits?
Heather Dody: The benefits to customers include: an in-state option which reduces their carbon footprint; their waste is turned into energy instead of being landfilled; and provides measurable results towards their sustainability goals.
Corporations also reap great benefit from a PR standpoint for being as sustainable as possible – and customers, boards and employees give them higher approval ratings. Employing Bio-INergy can directly benefit a medical company’s bottom line in multiple ways.
Waste360: What are the challenges?
Heather Dody: The biggest challenge was researching the existing technologies in order to formulate the Bio-INergy process, which not only complies with all regulatory requirements, but additionally is economically practical for our customers.
Waste360: Do any North American medical companies or facilities use the system?
Heather Dody: Ingenium thrives on solving our customer’s sustainability challenges. Bio-INergy formed out of discussions with several client organizations seeking to achieve higher results on the sustainability scale. Each year in California, significant volumes of red bag medical waste are generated that up until now did not have a beneficial outlet for treatment beyond landfill and/or incineration. Bio-INergy is one of the first of its kind in California, and we’re exploring expanding the program into other areas.
We are now able to offer any red bag medical waste generator the option of choosing a sustainable alternative over autoclave and landfill treatment and/or reduce an organization’s carbon footprint by avoiding out-of-state incineration. We launched this innovative program with a select group of customers and are in discussions with a wide array of organizations as we speak.