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Wally Slone VP Global Efficiency Program

The goal is to reduce, the 903,474,000kg of regulated medical waste generated globally from hemodialysis therapy by 90% annually.

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*No single healthcare individual exerts a greater impact on the environment than does a dialysis patient." Based on a mean of 2.75 kg disposable waste = currently directed to landfill or incineration, the minimum global waste generation by Hemodialysis is 2.75 kg x 156 (annual number of annual patient treatments) x 2,106,000 = 903,474,000 kg/year. 

90% of the medical waste generated from a dialysis treatment are the dialyzers an bloodlines used to filter the blood. A machine that is currently available in the market can steam sterilize and grind the product into a "confetti" reducing the volume by 80%. Once in this state, the "confetti" will be processed into a plastic resin and used to make industrial products such as plastic pallets, medical waste containers, or boards to construct decks, or buildings.

We are 12 weeks into a "proof-of-concept" on processing the dialysis medical waste through a machine that is about the size of a washing machine. The machine steam sterilizes and grinds the product into a confetti reducing the volume by 80%.

In parallel, we are in collaboration with the University UMASS Lowell to develop a process to make a homogeneous blend from the sterilized confetti. The blend would be pelletized and used to injection mold or extrude it into industrial products such as pallets or plastic tote bins.

*Dr. John Agar on September 10th, 2014

Idea Title

Dial Me Back (from a dialyzer to another product)

Company / Organization Name

I am employed by Fresenius Medical Care, the worlds largest provider of dialysis products and services.


Where are you / your team located?

I am located at the US at the North American Corporate office in Waltham, Massachusetts.

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

The medical waste will be steam sterilized and ground up into a confetti size particle. This material will be processed into a homegenous blend that can be processed into an industrial product.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

The use case for this initaitve fits in the circular design use case.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

The current region is in North America, but can very easliy be replicated globally.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

Once the process has been developed, the first region to scale-up will be the US. The other regions will follow based on the largest patient population Japan, China, Brazil etc.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.
  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.
  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

The key goals are; 1) develop a homogeneous blend of resin from post steam sterilized RMW that has mutiple types of plastics with varying chemical composition, 2) define the equipment and process to process the blend and 3) Identfiy potential products that can be made and determine how to scale the process

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The idea came from my previous experience in the plastics technology industry.

Tell us about your work experience

My position at Fresenius allows me to leverage my entrpreneural spirit to discover sustainable efficiencies in all aspects of the business.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Fesenius is a pubically traded company trading on the NASDAQ and NYSE.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Wally!

Interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Photo of Wally

Hello Lauren, yes I can take some pictures and post them in my submission. I am currently working with the University UMASS Lowell in Massachusetts on the recyclability of the post sterilized and ground up medical waste. This coming Monday we have a meeting to review the progress of our initiative. I am very excited! Stay tuned more to come!

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Wally I wanted to highlight that the Ideas Phase of the challenge closes in 3 days. I just want to flag that any information you want to include in your submission must be included by the 28th for it to be accepted for evaluation.

Excited to learn more!

Photo of Wally

I have completed a proof of concept with the Sterilis machine (sterilizes and grinds regulated medical). We have 2 machines in one location and 3 in another. The machines are performing very well. In parallel, I have an 6-9 month engagement with the University UMASS Lowell. At this point in the study (only 2 months into the study) I have a 80-90% confidence level that we can make other products from the waste. What information should I post. As you can see I am really far down the journey.

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