Metal implants will not disintegrate during the cremation process. What should a crematorium do with implants that stay behind after cremation?
Most metal implants collect dust in a crematorium storeroom or, even worse, land up on landfill sites.
Recycling metals, implants, and pacemakers have become a specialty field of medical waste recycling companies. It has also become the obvious solution for the crematorium industry.
Why recycle metal implants?
All medical metals that you are still recoverable after cremation fall under the category of heavy metals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), heavy metals must be recycled because they:
- are non-recoverable resources with limited availability
- do not decompose over time
- take up landfill space, which is an environmental hazard
Implant recycling companies present a solution by offering ethical and lawful removal and recycling of medical implants.
Implant recycling services
Every implant recycling service operates in its own unique way. In general, they all collect medical implants from crematoriums across the USA. The company receives an implant they will assess it to decide if it is suitable for reuse as a new implant. They will then sterilize it, melt down the metal, and send it off for repurposing.
According to law, the medical industry may not reuse an implant in its original form. A second-hand implant carries a high risk of infection and surgery failure. This is why the recycler will always melt the implant down before sending it to an implant manufacturer.
Implant manufacturers will use the metal to make a new implant that must comply with the strictest medical specifications. The new implant becomes a donation to a less fortunate medical facility outside of the USA. Donations of this kind have already helped thousands of patients who could otherwise not afford the medical treatment.
We can also reuse pacemakers. Law requires that crematoriums remove pacemakers before the cremation process because the battery can explode when exposed to heat. As a result, pacemakers have also been collecting dust in crematorium storerooms across America. Fortunately, some implant recyclers refurbish pacemakers for second-use programs. Usable pacemakers go to patients in third world countries who might otherwise die from the complications of slow heart rhythm without a device.
The My Heart Your Heart pacemaker program alone recovers thousands of pacemakers every year. The program teams up with underdeveloped countries to distribute the pacemakers to low-income families. Programs like this are able to save thousands of lives with devices that would otherwise pile up in storage or landfills.
What to look for in a recycler
Choose a recycler that leaves you with zero liability if there is a problem with any of the implants you send them. Ask about their risk and liability policies. It is also wise to ask about their record of accomplishment and certification levels.
A good recycler should have an Environmental Management System certificate of ISO 14000 and a Quality Management System certificate of ISO 9000. These certifications are an assurance that they will take the greatest care with the quality and safety of the recycling process.
Give implants a second chance
Traditional disposal means that the medical industry loses precious resources, while a recycling program gives implants a second chance to fix a life.