A start-up in Rolling Meadows, Ill., is stalking a potentially $2-billion market with an environmentally safe alternative to incinerating medical waste. Stericycle's technology uses radio waves to superheat infectious waste and kill bacteria and viruses. By-products of the patented process include a coal substitute and salvageable plastic for recycling. If regulators cooperate, the company plans to expand into four states this year, says president and CEO Paul Hartford.

-- Anne Murphy