Rhode Island Denies Efforts to Burn Medical Waste

MedRecycler's proposed West Warwick facility will not be granted a permit

Pile of medical waste

July 13, 2021 (PROVIDENCE, RI) – Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management has denied MedRecycler’s permit application to build and operate a facility that would burn medical waste in West Warwick. The decision comes just after Governor McKee signed a bill into law that will protect the state’s communities and environment from the known risks of burning medical waste with high-heat technologies. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement in response.

“Burning waste of any kind threatens our environment and poses unacceptable toxic risks to neighboring communities,” said Kevin Budris, Zero Waste Attorney at CLF Rhode Island. “Medical waste contains large amounts of plastic, as well as sharps, pathological waste, cleanup materials, and other biological waste. When this waste is burned with high-heat technologies, it emits some of the most dangerous pollutants known to humankind. Today’s decision aligns with Rhode Island’s new law to protect our communities, homes, schools, and waters from dirty, climate-destroying medical waste-burning facilities.”

By not granting a license to MedRecycler, Rhode Island will be able to stay on track to meet its enforceable goals in the Act on Climate law.

CLF experts are available for further comment.