The COVID-19 pandemic has created a massive global shortage of PPE. Similarly, the increased usage of PPE has led to an unprecedented rise in single-use plastic pollution from the medical sector. Lifecycle Revive is an Ontario-based company that specializes in recycling PPE waste. Joining us today is the company’s VP of Business Development, Andy Straisfeld. Andy has over a decade of experience in the medical supply sales space, and he is now using his knowledge in alignment with a cause he believes in.
In today’s episode, Andy talks about apathy when it comes to recycling medical supplies and sheds light on why Lifecycle Revive has chosen the mission they have. We hear about how they quickly mobilized and got an incredible team together to tackle this growing issue. Andy is clear on Lifecycle Revive’s vision and does not sugarcoat that change will be slow, but it is something they are wholeheartedly committed to. He has personal experience of what it is like to lay the foundations for a plan that will only come to fruition in the future and carries this lesson with him into business. We need a paradigm shift when it comes to thinking about the lifespan and cycle of a product, and Lifecycle Revive is doing great work to get the needle moving in creating this change. To hear the full episode, click the link of your favorite podcast platform below.
Key Points From This Episode
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated problems that have long existed in the medical industry. Medical waste has alway existed, but now is a much larger issue. Not to mention, skyrocketing demand for PPE caused shortages.
Andy believes that the lack of recycling initiatives in the medical space is a result of selective apathy and not because of ignorance or lack of knowledge. Haulers and recyclers would refuse pickups of clean medical waste because with excuses like ‘it’s too expensive.’ Meanwhile, hospitals may not even know it is possible to recycle these materials.
Lifecycle Revive thought about the end of a PPE product’s life cycle, realizing there is a business case for medical waste recycling. Convincing hospitals to get on board was not difficult. The incentives to do the right thing for the environment, not have to pay to have their garbage hauled, and to get a percentage of the recycling revenue back as a donation to their foundation were all obvious benefits.
The fundraising process for the company drew on all of the partners’ strengths, and as a result, it has been extremely successful in getting Lifecycle Revive up and running in a short timeframe, which is crucial to seizing opportunities when they present (in this case, the pandemic).
The basic process Lifecycle Revive follows is having hospital staff separate their clean medical waste, haul it to a participating recycling facility, create pellets of the recycled plastic, and then sell the pellets to create new PPE. Expansion opportunities are endless, both going beyond Canada and beyond hospitals, looking to schools and other locations with large amounts of PPE.
“80% of clean hospital waste happens before a patient ever comes in the room.” — @AndyStraisfeld [0:08:08]
“There’s gold in the garbage. If you look at the prosperity that can come from that garbage, we can create industry from that garbage. We can save money by helping out environmentally-based industry. We can limit the amount of money we spend in healthcare by paying for expensive stuff to come from overseas, if we can make it domestically and we can support it. If we do all these things, then we are actually answering everything that we’ve been complaining about. Everything that we ever wanted is here, and it’s in our garbage.” — @AndyStraisfeld [0:14:34]
“In times of crisis, people pull together, and they find synergies that they never found before. I was glad to be part of that synergy.” — @AndyStraisfeld [0:20:49]
“A company needs to not only just focus on selling units and selling products, but they also need to focus on selling the repercussions of what they do.” — @AndyStraisfeld [0:23:13]
“We’re not doing it for the medals and we’re not doing it for the money. We’re doing it for the environment and for the future, and I think that’s the key here.” — @AndyStraisfeld [0:39:33]