AMB Ecosteryl is transforming waste disposal around the world07/08/2019

AMB Ecosteryl is a family company based in Mons that specialises in developing and producing solutions to sustainably process and recycle medical waste. Established in 1947 as a manufacturer of machinery for extraction industries, AMB moved into the environmental sector after the decline of mining companies locally. It has been developing environmentally friendly technology to process medical waste over the past 17 years.

AMB offers a unique and sustainable process in its field, which has traditionally been reluctant to innovate. Most medical waste is incinerated, a process that is known to be environmentally unfriendly. “The first innovation is the reduction achieved in the use of resources, as our units only need a low power consumption to operate,” says Andrew Cantillo E, AMB’s sales manager in the Americas, who is based in Brussels. “No water, no gas, no fuel or other chemical products are required.” This process also creates no contaminated by-products, such as wastewater or chemicals.

The process beginning with automated weighing and loading of waste, which then goes through a four-shaft shredder system. “This shredding feature, combined with the heating of waste through the action of microwaves, gives the opportunity to select polypropylene and other plastics after decontamination to recycle it or recover it,” Cantillo says. This is advantageous, as these plastics have a significant resale value.

The second main innovation is that the machines operate continuously, with no need to add waste in batches, and can be operational 24/7. After shredding, waste is brought into a microwave zone then placed in a temperature-controlled hopper for an hour until it is fully decontaminated. It is then added to a container. In this process, waste can be reduced to up to a fifth of its original volume.

About 90% of waste processed by Ecosteryl equipment is reused, instead of going into landfill or being incinerated. Its process is suitable for a wide array of regulated medical waste, except when it is nuclear or toxic. Neo-Ecosteryl, AMB’s latest technology, integrates recycling into its process. After decontamination, medical waste is separated by type or colour. This allows waste to be commercialised as input for medical packaging, plastic, energy generation or cement kilns.

AMB also provides services to ensure optimal operations and maintenance. When its machinery is shipped to clients, AMB sends engineers to provide local training on operations and maintenance. The Ecosteryl team provides maintenance and support remotely, through integrated internet access installed in all its machinery and on-site visits for clients are also possible. The equipment can be installed in less than two days, and can be easily disassembled for relocation. Its machinery is long-lasting, and the first Ecosteryl machine ever installed in France is still operational.

Despite AMB’s field of expertise, most of its clients are not healthcare facilities but usually major environmental companies specialising in waste management of dangerous materials. A smaller portion include hospitals looking for cost-effective solutions for their waste, as well as the public sector, such as health and environment ministries.

“Today we have a solid client network from America to Africa, Asia and Europe,” says Cantillo. “We are leaders in France, covering most of the alternative technologies industry. Our biggest ambition is to better valorise medical waste worldwide. This is why we offer the industry cutting-edge solutions to decontaminate medical waste and then to recycle it.”

By Betina Kiefer



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