Proposed medical waste recycler appeals permit denial

August 26, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A company that wants to build a medical waste recycling plant in West Warwick has appealed a state agency’s decision to deny it a necessary permit, though a state law may prevent the company from moving forward regardless of the appeal’s outcome.

MedRecycler-RI filed its appeal on Aug. 2 and a division of the Department of Environmental Management has scheduled a status conference on Sept. 8, the Providence Journal reported Wednesday.

The Adjudication Division can only consider the technical aspects of the decision to deny the permit, which DEM said included a lack of an adequate emergency response plan and details of how the plant’s process would work.

MedRecycler has proposed using a process called pyrolysis to take medical waste like gloves, tubing and syringes, melt it down and burn it to produce energy.

But a recently passed law prohibits new high-heat medical waste processing facilities in the state.

DEM said in a statement that they do “not have jurisdiction over the constitutionality or applicability of the statute prohibiting new high-heat medical waste processing facilities from being sited in Rhode Island.”

The company has argued that they are exempt from the statute because it was passed months after they submitted their final application for a permit.

If the DEM denies MedRecycler’s appeal, the company could appeal the decision to the state’s Supreme Court, which does have the authority to review the applicability of the new law, the newspaper reported.