Syringe scheme shot in the arm for recycling

UK utility Wessex Water is diverting thousands of plastics from landfill by recycling the syringe filters and cartridges used by scientists during water sampling.

The syringe filters contain a membrane that must be separated from the surrounding plastic prior to recycling, a process made easier thanks to a new partnership between manufacturer Cytvia and supplier TerraCycle. The initiative is part of the water company's zero waste to landfill commitment.

Wessex Water’s sampling laboratories are also the first in the UK able to wash and reuse pipettes up to 25 times before disposal – as well as recycling other plastic items such as gloves.

Wessex Water’s lab buyer, Jan Clay, who spearheaded the syringe initiative, said. “An important part of my role is to ensure that the suppliers we work with share our commitments to the environment and to sustainable waste management practices. It was therefore great to hear that Cytvia has partnered with TerraCycle to divert the plastic syringe filters from landfill, and it was an easy decision to sign us up to the new scheme.

“TerraCycle boxes will now be placed in our labs to collect the used filters. Each box can contain approximately 5,000 syringes and filters.

"Once collected, they will be recycled into material suitable for use in industrial applications such as composite decking and shipping pallets.”