In Flanders, 78% of household waste is recycled. A statistic that instills a sense of pride for the region. For medical waste, however, this figure comes in much lower, at only 8%. BioVille resident REPOMED wants to put a stop to the disposable culture in the healthcare industry.
With more than 20 years of experience, Dirk Segers is anything but a newbie in the industry. His company Euramedics specializes in helping healthcare companies find their way on the European market. However, 2 years ago he felt the need to launch a new project. Dirk Segers: “Today, the majority of medical waste goes into the incinerator. With REPOMED, we aim to counter the disposable culture within the healthcare industry.”
Armed with its motto ‘Goodbye to medical waste’ REPOMED has entered its initial phase where the company focuses on the recycling of catheters and pacemakers. Down the line, they aim to expand to metal prostheses and other waste products.
Dirk Segers: “Our industry attracts highly determined people. Each innovation improves human existence’.
Dirk Segers: “Today, pacemakers end up with regular waste disposal. They are not recycled and are very polluting. Ideally, we want to give these instruments a second life. They’re still perfectly usable, be it for veterinarians or scientific research. But not all pacemakers are reusable. When that’s the case, we take them apart and recycle the separate parts back to raw materials.”
REPOMED is very much embarking on uncharted territory, where maintaining an innovative mindset is indispensable. Dirk Segers, an engineer by training, is driven by a scientific curiosity and sees problems as challenges. And challenges there are. “Making the project cost-effective is not an easy feat. The same is to be said of finding the right contacts at hospitals and care providers”
REPOMED is a permanent resident of BioVille. Residency at the incubator has its perks. “The big advantage of BioVille is access to shared services, which would be unaffordable for start-ups on their own,” Dirk Segers knows. “In addition, you have the helpful staff who always know how to connect you with relevant actors in the field.”
The real motivation stems from the fact that innovation benefits society. “The medical sector is a very innovative field of work, the people it attracts are typically very determined individuals. You are constantly looking for ways to improve people’s quality of life. That’s why we keep pushing forward.” Dirk concludes.