BC Company repurposing millions of disposable medical masks into construction materials

May 17, 2022 (Saskatoon, SK) – Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has partnered with BC-based Vitacore Industries Inc. in a commercialization project driven by the Coordinated Accessible National (CAN) Health Network to bring first of its kind Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Recycling Program to Saskatchewan.

“As one of the largest organizations in Saskatchewan contributing to the increase in PPE usage, we have a responsibility to explore alternative ways of disposing our masks to limit the amount of material ending up in our landfills.” – Kerri Cryderman, Executive Director Environmental Services for the SHA.

This program was created after Vitacore recognized that existing recycling initiatives in Canada were not accepting medical PPE, such as masks, due to sanitary concerns. In response, Vitacore launched Canada’s first ever PPE Recycling Program in February 2021, collecting the equivalent of 8.8 million masks and respirators to-date.

With Vitacore, used masks and respirators are disposed of in designated Vitacore Recycling Bins and then transported to the Recycling Facility where masks are sanitized, sorted, shredded, and prepared for melting. The shredded and processed pieces are then melted down and made into polypropylene pellets which are then repurposed into construction material such as concrete reinforcement, and textiles.

Last month, SHA initiated Vitacore’s Recycling Program at Saskatoon City Hospital which was well received, earning high praise from staff, physicians, and patients. The end goal of this commercialization project is to determine if we are able to implement Vitacore’s Recycling Program in additional SHA facilities across the province.

Currently, Vitacore offers three unique Recycling Programs: the Community Program for work places, schools and community centres; the Hospital Program for hospitals and medical clinics; and the Industrial Program for warehouses and industrial partners.

“As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, single-use masks and respirators will continue to significantly contribute to the pollution in our landfills and oceans. Vitacore remains committed not only to providing the highest quality PPE to Canadians, but also to facilitating a sustainable future. We are thrilled to be working with the Saskatchewan Health Authority to bring Vitacore’s Recycling Program to facilities across the province, which will make a significant impact in diverting waste from our landfills and reducing the environmental impact of single-use PPE.” – Mikhail Moore, President of Vitacore

The CAN Health Network is an Integrated Market that works directly with health-care operators, or Edges, to identify their biggest challenges and partner them with Canadian-made, innovative solutions, like Vitacore. Its goal is to give companies access to Canada’s health-care marketplace and advance procurement opportunities to scale across the country and abroad.

“SHA is excited to have a hand in changing the way we all think about disposing PPE. It is important for us to be aware of our impact on the environment and look for ways in which we can partner with Canadian companies using innovative techniques to reduce this impact. As part of the CAN Health Network we are able to share this information nationally, impacting not only SHA but the whole country.” – Dr. Susan Shaw, Chief Medical Officer, SHA and Board Member, CAN Health Network

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ABOUT THE CAN HEALTH NETWORK

The CAN Health Network is a Canada-first approach to technology adoption. It helps break down barriers to scaling in the health care system and provides an environment for companies to scale to their full potential. Currently operating in Ontario, Western and Atlantic Canada, the CAN Health Network plans to expand into Quebec and the North. The Network has received $3.5 million in 2019 and $3.25 million in 2021 from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), $3.5 million from PrairiesCan and PacifiCan, and $2.2 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to build a national platform that harnesses the purchasing power of health care organizations. To learn more about the CAN Health Network, visit canhealthnetwork.ca.

ABOUT SASKATCHEWAN HEALTH AUTHORITY

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is the largest organization in Saskatchewan, employing more than 40,000 employees and physicians. Together, it is responsible for the delivery of safe, high quality health care for the entire province.

ABOUT VITACORE INDUSTRIES INC.

Vitacore is the first Canadian N95 manufacturer authorized by Health Canada. Manufacturing locally in Burnaby B.C. from raw materials, Vitacore provides PPE of uncompromising quality and fair price, creates local jobs, maintains steady responsive supply, and acts sustainably for Canada’s environment.

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