So what happens to those vaccine needles?

UPS partners with Stericycle for end-to-end support of healthcare industry
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It’s a timely partnership at a critical juncture.

UPS Healthcare has been using cutting-edge tools and technology, as well as near-perfect service, to move vaccines across the U.S. and around the world, delivering hope to pandemic-weary populations. Those world-class services include:

  • NextGen track and trace technology.
  • UPS Cold Chain Solutions – storage, distribution, dry ice production and temperature-controlled packaging.
  • More than 10 million square feet of cGMP-dedicated healthcare space around the globe.
  • Clinical trial logistic management.
  • Customized solutions tailored to specific pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic lab customers.

But this level of customer support, as well as the delivery of hundreds of millions of vaccines and millions of pounds of personal protective equipment (PPE), translates into large amounts of medical waste, from used needles to rubber gloves.

Enter Stericycle and a partnership with UPS Healthcare.

“Stericycle helps round out our set of world-class services,” said UPS Healthcare’s president Wes Wheeler. “We’ve been delivering what matters to our customers when they need it most. But now we’re closing the loop by connecting partners to responsibly manage the disposal of medical waste after care has been provided to patients.”

Stericycle was founded in response to the syringe tide in the late 1980s, when significant amounts of medical waste, like hypodermic syringes, were washing up on beaches in the Northeastern U.S.

The company has since developed industry-leading expertise and an expansive network to manage the transportation, treatment and disposal of biohazardous materials. Its solutions have helped protect communities through outbreaks and natural disasters like Ebola, H1N1, SARs, Hurricane Katrina … and now COVID-19.

Stericycle quickly mobilized to partner with temporary quarantine, treatment, testing and vaccination facilities to support medical waste disposal as a result of the pandemic. In addition, they expanded their service offering to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in the workplace by helping non-healthcare facilities dispose of used PPE and sharps through pickup and mail-back solutions.

Cory White, Stericycle Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer said, “Our partnership with UPS Healthcare enhances our ability to connect people, knowledge, insights, and resources in ways that build healthier businesses and safer communities. Together, we’ll continue to protect the health and well-being of our customers and communities in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way.”

The Stericycle network includes 232 global processing facilities, 188 transfer sites and a fleet of more than 7,800 trucks. With these resources, the company can handle more than 700 million needles a month in North America alone.

Key to the UPS partnership is Stericycle’s deep commitment to sustainability. In 2020, the company: 

  • Responsibly disposed of 1.5 billion pounds of medical waste. 
  • Diverted more than 104 million pounds of plastics from landfills with reusable sharps and pharmaceutical containers.
  • Safely disposed of more than 40 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste.
  • Shredded and recycled 1.1 billion pounds of paper.

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