New business launches to handle medical waste
A local entrepreneur with a family history in waste management has launched a company to handle the island’s biohazardous material.
Donte Hunt’s new business, MediWaste, will transport, treat and dispose of medical waste, through two incinerators, specifically designed for the purpose.
MediWaste will be taking over the responsibility from the Department of Health. Clients will include hospitals, pharmacies, labs, clinics, barber shops, tattoo parlours, doctor’s offices, rest homes and veterinary clinics.
“My father, Allan Hunt, managed Tynes Bay,” Mr Hunt said. “He was also the chairman of Clean Islands, a committee of waste managers throughout the Caribbean who set out policy throughout the Caribbean. He was talking about issues the hospital has in managing medical waste.”
Mr Hunt said there had been times when the Bermuda Hospitals Board had to send medical waste overseas because of equipment issues.
“They are in the business of health, not waste management,” Mr Hunt said.
Mr Hunt, who considers himself a serial entrepreneur, saw the possibilities.
“I am about solutions,” he said.
They have been negotiating with the Government since before the pandemic to launch MediWaste.
“From an entrepreneurial perspective this is normal,” he said.
The facility will be located in the industrial park behind the police station at Southside, St David’s.
“We will burn at over 3,000F, which is much higher than Tynes Bay,” he said.
But he said the environmental impact would be zero.
“We have gotten approval from all government entities including the Department of the Environment, looked at the schematics, looked at the emissions. We will emit less pollution than a car emits, in terms of the environment.”
He said the pollution control system at the plant cost more than all of the other equipment.
“It is a massive, strong piece of equipment that would change any emission into virtually zero in the atmosphere,” Mr Hunt said.
The incinerator towers will be about 30ft high, significantly shorter than the Tynes Bay Incinerator.
“No one will see them,” Mr Hunt said. “The building itself is higher and will be about 3,000 square feet.”
Mr Hunt plans to hire six or seven people to run MediWaste. He will continue to maintain his day job at the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, and work on MediWaste in the evenings. His father will be director of operations, and Yuri Lightbourne will be operations manager.
“I built the model so I am not intricately involved in the day-to-day workings,” he said. “I am the financial guy.”
Using two new vans, MediWaste is already collecting medical waste for the BHB, and will start collecting for other customers in the next four weeks.
“We have a storage facility,” he said. “We will be collecting and storing it until we can start burning, which is exactly what the BHB is doing right now.”
He expected to collect between 1,000 to 2,000lbs of medical waste a day.
Mr Hunt said Covid-19 had increased the amount of medical waste produced in Bermuda.
“That is because of the sharps used for vaccinations and also because of the PPE gear,” he said. “PPE has been used much more than normal.”
But he thought the peak of PPE use and vaccination jabs had been passed.
“There may be quite a bit of backlog out there waiting to be collected,” he said.
The incinerator equipment is being manufactured in England and is expected to arrive in Bermuda in July.
To comply with Bermuda’s medical waste policy, community generators of medical waste are required to register with MediWaste by Monday, March 25, at www.mediwaste.bm/register.
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