Abraham Franklin
Director General
Grupo Franklin
View from the Top

Regulations Hampering Waste-Disposal Opportunities

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 17:31

Q: What are the challenges of biowaste disposal and how do you overcome them?

A: Challenges in our line of business begin with regulations. Getting the permits for the waste-collection trucks can take seven to eight months, so if we want to serve a hospital or to participate in a tender, we have to register trucks we are not yet using. Also, we can only collect waste within a catchment area and we are limited to working in the center of the country. Opening a new plant to obtain clients further away would require a US$20 million investment, which is extremely risky without a signed contract in place.

Q: What process do you use to safely dispose of biohazard waste?

A: Refrigerated trucks pick up garbage from public and private hospitals and take it to our plant in special containers. The waste must be refrigerated at all times because if gas escapes from one of the bags and is from contaminated blood, the effects could be disastrous. We need to transport our cargo at low temperatures to avoid evaporation and to ensure no syringes or needles break. At the plant, workers dressed in biohazard suits put the waste into a large container, which has an enormous tube that rotates every hour to change the waste’s position so that everything is burned evenly in our three chambers. The ashes obtained from that process are filtered through a fine fabric and taken to dumps. By the end of the process, all we emit is water. We also burn expired pharmaceuticals for hospitals, for which they receive a tax reduction. If they did not burn them, someone could take them from the trash. Our trucks also have to be zero-emission vehicles, because this is our company’s distinguishing characteristic.