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Chinese Plant Used Illegal Medical Waste for Toys, Tableware

Typically, a story about recycling would give you warm fuzzies on a cold day. This one won’t.

Typically, a nice little story about massive amounts of recycling would give you the warm fuzzies on a cold day. Well, let me assure you – this one won’t.

The South China Morning Post is reporting that Chinese police have busted a recycling plant in Nanjing for illegally recycling medical waste. Their suspect told police that he had been recycling medical waste – including used hypodermic needles, intravenous drip bags, bottles and tubes – which he had been purchasing from several hospitals since 2012.

Allegedly, a local workshop would then sort and pack the waste, where it would then be sold to other parties in neighboring provinces. As police dug deeper, they were able to identify another suspect at this point in the supply chain, who admitted he would resell the waste to processing plants, where it would be turned into tiny plastic pellets called nurdles before being sold online to plastic factories around the world.

That’s right, folks – around the world. So even though it might not say “Made in China”…

Well, luckily it just gets grosser.

Police said that as drip bags and tubes are often made of polypropylene and polyethylene – which are two main materials for plastic products – it’s highly likely some of the nurdles were reprocessed into plastic toys and tableware.

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