The ’80s and of issues with non-regulated clinical waste

The regulated clinical waste industry was born in the late 1980s, at approximately the same time in which medical waste was found on the beaches of the Atlantic Coast.

The bill that created an industry

As a result of the attention of the media and the public outcry, the US Congress passed the Medical Waste Tracking 1988, initiating the field of medical waste disposal. The act defined medical waste and established requirements for waste management standards, tracking, and record keeping.

About the same time, Dr. James Sharp develops a business plan that focuses on helping hospitals manage their medical waste in an environmentally sound and cost effective manner; this leads to the formation of Stericycle in 1989.

The problem of implementation of the regulations

Increased focus on disposal of medical waste did create some confusion about residue considered “medical waste”. As a result, many hospitals and other health facilities began to eliminate almost all waste as medical waste. New difficulties appeared:

  • Higher health care costs
  • Increased focus on incineration

Stericycle offers a solution with great potential

What if we helped to protect people from injuries and other biological risks, where the risks are generated?

What if we teach our customers how to separate biological infectious medical waste from other types of waste to reduce costs?

What happens if we use a new, environmentally friendly technology to help manage medical waste?

Supporting the idea and the struggles of the early ’90s

We started with one customer and one treatment center in West Memphis, Arkansas, USA. Like many companies at the beginning, we had financial challenges. Still, we kept commitment to our customers, offering removal services, education and support.

Mid-’90s and a change of course

In 1992, Mark Miller joins the company and accelerates our growth. Over the next 5 years, Stericycle acquires more than 9 medical waste companies and begins to build a national infrastructure. In 1996, Stericycle goes public on the NASDAQ exchange.

Between 1998 and 2000, Stericycle begins expanding into new territories. Our international footprint grows to include Mexico, Canada, and the U.K.

We expanded our services to small healthcare practices including physicians, dentists and many professionals who use sharp instruments (needles, syringes, etc.) thereby helping to protect more people and businesses.

Our focus on customer education continues

From the beginning, we’ve focused on educating the client on regulations and best practices, which differentiates us from other companies. For Stericycle, our services are accompanied by resources and training to support regulated medical waste management. We have helped our customers to segregate different types of waste, in accordance with requirements or regulations covering numerous biohazards.

Our international initiatives alleviate administrative burdens

Our international business grew through the acquisitions beginning in 1998 with our partner in Mexico.

Our services, tools and resources help alleviate the administrative burden for healthcare professionals not only in Mexico but also in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ireland, Japan, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Scotland, Spain, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, and Netherlands.

Our sustainability programs grow

Throughout our history, we have actively sought opportunities to expand our ability to protect people and reduce risk.

Based on these early successes and emerging demands of environmental protection, our sustainability services have increased. Our programs include pharmaceutical waste disposal for unused or expired waste in hospitals, private clinics and pharmacies.

In addition, our services help a wide range of customers to handle their wastes correctly. Our integrated waste flow helps hospitals better understand and manage their waste streams and recycling.

Our Sustainability Expert division is developing customized solutions to help retailers, distributors, and manufacturers with excess inventory. These solutions reduce disposal costs and protect our resources promoting sustainability.

Only the beginning

Throughout the history of our company, we have focused on customers, regulated industries, education, and sustainability all in support of our vision to protect people and reduce risks.

Our expansion, removal, return and other services related to regulated industries

To Stericycle services related to medical waste and compliance were only the beginning since we have actively sought opportunities to expand our ability to protect people and reduce risk.