Medical packaging & devices go greener

Medical device packaging

Medical device packaging

Traditionally medical products, devices and their related packaging has been ’sidelined’ in much of the debate around the environment, where the major focus has been on retail products. However, it is estimated (Mulligan) that medical packaging contributes between 30% to 50% (or more) of the medical waste stream. There is a lot of work going on in the background, within the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, and further afield globally, as healthcare practitioners are put under increasing pressure to ‘go green’, become more ’sustainable’ and reduce their ‘carbon footprint’.  These initiatives go right to the core of their infrastructure, looking at everything from operating theatre furniture and equipment, through to medical devices and all related packaging.

However, there are wider ramifications, as it apparent that these sustainability initiatives will also enable huge cost benefits, improved regulatory compliance, and enhanced corporate social responsibility (CSR) when done correctly. So no pressure then ;-) !

On the face of it, this looks like a huge and daunting task, but with the aid of modern modelling techniques, such as those used by Walmart and by Marks & Spencer (M&S) in their ‘Plan A’, data and issues can be quite easily ‘chunked-down’ into manageable bite-size segments. This can help prioritisation and enable ‘quick wins’ on the highest ‘value creating’ initiatives.

It is important that suppliers and medical device manufacturers think about these sweeping changes and, if not already doing so, start to design and develop medical devices & healthcare packaging to meet these more stringent requirements. Next-generation packaging must be: 1) easy to manufacture; 2) meet stringent regulatory requirements; 3) meet the needs of distributors, healthcare institutions, and medical practitioners; and 4) minimize impact on the environment.

Mulligan talks in greater detail about all of this in an interesting article ‘Using a Life Cycle Analysis approach in medical packaging‘ recently published on the Healthcare Packaging website. Have a read and let us know what you think!

Chris Penfold


  1. July 2015

  2. September 2014
  3. August 2014
  4. July 2014
  5. April 2014
  6. September 2013
  7. March 2013
  8. February 2013
  9. July 2012
  10. January 2012
  11. December 2011
  12. November 2011
  13. August 2011
  14. April 2011
  15. March 2011
  16. February 2011
  17. January 2011
  18. December 2010
  19. November 2010
  20. October 2010
  21. September 2010
  22. August 2010
  23. July 2010
  24. June 2010
  25. May 2010
  26. April 2010
  27. March 2010
  28. February 2010
  29. January 2010
  30. December 2009
  31. November 2009
  32. October 2009
  33. September 2009
  34. August 2009
  35. July 2009
  36. June 2009
  37. May 2009
  38. Tag Bag

  39. Tag Cloud

  40. Twitter Feed

    Posting tweet...