For asset managers looking to go green and feel good about the disposal of their facility’s surplus medical equipment, ZRG LLC, based in Oceanside, Calif., is ready to serve their needs. The asset management company provides hospitals nationwide with liquidation services designed to be both cost-effective and eco-friendly. Below, ZRG President Tony Lively discusses how his company helps keep its customers’ equipment out of landfills and puts them to renewed use. .
24×7 Magazine: Tell us a little about you and ZRG.
Tony Lively: I’ve been with ZRG since 2010; three years later, my wife and I took over the business. We’ve since molded ZRG into a company that puts sustainability above all else. As a Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) R2 Recycler, we are held to strict standards for responsible management of surplus medical equipment.
I am currently the chair for the California Medical Instrumentation Association. I’m not a biomed, but I work closely with many of them. In fact, a passion of mine is to promote and further the education of the biomedical community.
24×7: We hear ZRG is putting together a BMET certification program at a local community college. What was the impetus behind this decision?
Lively: While working closely with biomeds, I’ve seen many retire. Those who remain in the field may advance to fill empty positions. And because San Diego is a military town, some vacancies are filled by trained biomeds that leave the military. However, there is a hole being left in the industry—there are few new recruits and no biomed schools in San Diego County; this will be the first.
Mentors in the industry are coming out of the woodwork to help put this program together. And people are excited about bringing new workers into the field and passing their knowledge along to a new generation.
24×7: Why do hospitals choose ZRG for liquidation of assets?
Lively: Some vendors pick and choose what they’ll pay for and haul away. ZRG pays top-dollar for equipment and takes everything that needs to be removed from the facility.
In addition to liquidating equipment, there are often odd-ball items such as racks, carts, containers, and the like to remove from facilities. Asset managers know that everything ZRG picks up will stay out of a landfill because of our strict-zero landfill policy. They even receive a sustainability report after we remove their surplus, which is used for promoting their environmental practices within their organization and industry.
24×7: What about liability?
Lively: Hospital staff sign documents releasing liability to ZRG. We follow a standard operating procedure program for all equipment we manage, including the sanitization of all electronic protected health information data from hard drives and storage devices.
Sometimes customers don’t want their equipment remarketed or reused. Because we have systems in place to ensure that all equipment can be responsibly recycled, rather than recovered for reuse, we’re able to meet the customers’ needs. ZRG is regularly audited by SERI, which is the housing body for the R2 standard of practices.
24×7: What does ZRG do with the medical equipment and other assets?
Lively: Depending on what it is and its condition, we repair and refurbish it, biomed-certify working equipment, sell complete systems with a warranty, sell parts, donate the equipment, or responsibly recycle it.
As a result of removing all unwanted equipment, we are not only able to sell complete systems that have been biomed-tested, but we also stock various parts—even those that are hard to find. Some items are donated depending on the need of our nonprofit partners and the quality of equipment. What cannot be sold or donated is responsibly recycled following strict R2 protocol.
24×7: What advice would you give hospitals for liquidation practices?
Lively: Schedule regular pickups to keep storerooms free of items no longer in use. Also, put a disposition plan in place when you’re expecting large capital purchases. And carefully select your disposition vendor to remain in compliance with legal regulations and your organization’s internal protocols.
Finally, vet your vendor regularly to ensure that: you’re getting the most value for your surplus, they can meet your timelines, their practices meet your organization’s protocols, an overseeing body audits their practices, and they are green.