Company suspends recycling program at 3 Saskatoon hospitals

Loraas Disposal suspended its recycling program at three Saskatoon hospitals because it's concerned with contaminated products mixed in with recyclables.

Cites fears of contaminants in recycle bins

Loraas Disposal has cancelled its recycling program at three Saskatoon hospitals.

The company is now hauling 12 dumpsters full of previously-recyclable products directly to its private landfill north of Saskatoon each week.

"We have looked at the bins from all three acute sites for levels of contamination over the past two years, assessed the perceived safety risks to our staff at Recycle and have decided that as of September 6/13 we will be cancelling recycle service at RUH, City and St. Paul's Hospital," wrote Wayne Nickel at Loraas Recycle.

"We will continue to service Renal Dialysis and Park Ridge due to the lack of contaminants in their recycle bins."

The Saskatoon Health Region said it's all a misunderstanding and will have the program back running by October 1.

Brian Berzolla, the region's manager of facilities, said the issue revolves around Loraas employees not understanding where the items came from.

He said they assumed – incorrectly – that plastic products like feeding tubes and latex gloves came from operating rooms and were contaminated with biomedical waste.

"Any time a person does anything at the hospital they wear latex gloves," he said.

"But when a person thinks of latex gloves, they associate it to an OR (operating room)."

The health region has clear systems for dealing with biohazardous waste. Most goes to a company in Aberdeen that sterilizes and compacts the items.

Berzolla said the region hopes to get at least half the recyclable material back into the Loraas system by October. However, it's suspending recycling from operating rooms indefinitely.