So, what happens to those vaccine needles?

UPS partners with Stericycle to enhance end-to-end support to the healthcare industry by providing responsible medical waste product disposal services.

UPS collects vaccine needles and other medical waste from a healthcare facility.

It is a timely partnership at a critical juncture.

UPS Healthcare has been using cutting-edge tools and technology, as well as near-perfect service, to move vaccines across the US and around the world, delivering hope to pandemic-weary populations. Those world-class services include:

  • Next generation track and trace technology.
  • UPS Healthcare™ Cold Chain storage, distribution, dry ice production, and temperature-controlled packaging.
  • 11+ million square feet of cGMP-dedicated healthcare space around the globe.
  • Clinical trial logistics management.
  • Customised solutions tailored to specific pharmaceutical, medical devices, and diagnostic lab customers.

But this level of customer support, as well as the delivery of hundreds of millions of vaccines and millions of pounds of personal protective equipment (PPE), translates into large amounts of medical waste, from used needles to rubber gloves.

Enter Stericycle and a partnership with UPS Healthcare.

"Stericycle helps round out our set of world-class services," said UPS Healthcare's President Wes Wheeler. "We have been delivering what matters to our customers when they need it most. But we are now closing the loop by connecting partners to responsibly manage the disposal of medical waste after care has been provided to patients."

Stericycle was founded in response to the syringe tide in the late 1980s, when significant amounts of medical waste, like hypodermic syringes, were washing up on beaches in the Northeastern US.

The company has since developed industry-leading expertise and an expansive network to manage the transportation, treatment and disposal of biohazardous materials. Its solutions have helped protect communities through outbreaks and natural disasters like Ebola, H1N1, SARs, Hurricane Katrina ... and now COVID-19.

Stericycle quickly mobilised to partner, with temporary quarantine, treatment, testing, and vaccination facilities to support medical waste disposal needs resulting from the pandemic. In addition, it expanded its service offering to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in the workplace by helping non-healthcare facilities dispose of used personal protective equipment (PPE) and sharps through collection and post-back solutions.

Cory White, Stericycle Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer said, "Our partnership with UPS Healthcare enhances our ability to connect people, knowledge, insights, and resources in ways that build healthier businesses and safer communities. Together, we will continue to protect the health and well-being of our customers and communities in a safe, responsible and sustainable way."

The Stericycle network includes 232 global processing facilities, 188 transfer sites, and a fleet of more than 7,800 lorries. With these resources, the company can handle more than 700 million needles a month in North America alone.

The key to the UPS partnership is Stericycle's deep commitment to sustainability. In 2020, the company:

  • Responsibly disposed of 1.5 billion pounds of medical waste.
  • Diverted more than 104 million pounds of plastics from landfills, with reusable sharps and pharmaceutical containers.
  • Safely disposed of more than 40 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste.
  • Shredded and recycled 1.1 billion pounds of paper.
Smiling women

Let's Talk

We'd love to find out more about your business needs.

Contact us to learn how a customised logistics plan could help position you for success.

Ask an Expert