- Covanta Marion Inc., a subsidiary of Covanta Energy Inc., will soon begin importing medical waste at its waste-to-energy (WTE) facility in Brooks, OR. Stericycle Inc. will be transporting the material from California and Washington, as reported by Waste360.
- This new source of medical waste will eventually reach 15,000 tons per year and replace the current solid waste purchases from outside the county. Marion County is set to get up to $3.4 million per year from the deal. The county will use this to fund operational expenses, capital improvements, and programs for composting and recycling.
- The facility has capacity for up to 550 tons of waste per day and can generate 13.1 megawatts of energy. The company's contract amendment allows for additional medical waste capacity up to 25,000 tons, but any new imports would have to be improved by the county.
Marion County had previously been importing medical waste from British Columbia until 2014, when allegations came out that this material included fetal tissue. The county and Covanta will be conducting regular audits to ensure that all material meets specifications. The new shipments will also be phased in slowly, with smaller quantities coming from Washington and more coming from California once operations prove to be successful.
Up to one-third of these imports will be non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste and the rest will be biological waste — excluding fetal tissue, hazardous or radioactive waste and other sensitive material. According to James Regan, director of communications and media relations for Covanta, the material is classified as "must combust" which means it can't be sterilized any other way.
With the medical waste market now valued at more than $10 billion, companies are seeing big opportunities. Stericycle ranked 735th on Fortune's latest list of top companies this year and others have announced new technologies that set them up for future growth. In recognition of the market's size, a new nonprofit trade group called the Medical Waste Management Association was recently formed as well.