waste. The ability to use existing thermoforming, trimming
and sealing equipment can be beneficial for a processor
when adding new materials to their portfolio. This allows
packaging manufacturers to save costs. Furthermore,
when materials allow for optimizing processing conditions
— such as lowering the temperature and increasing the
processing speed — the outcome often yields higher
throughput and allows manufacturers to improve their
Patient safety is a key driver in creating sustainable
healthcare products. Developing new products and
redesigning existing solutions with materials that don’t
contain components such as bisphenol A, styrene or halogens
further help contribute to providing sustainable products.
Over the next year, and even five years, using sustainable
materials to create long-lasting products that are free of
materials of concern will continue to be a strong driver in
new product innovation.
Kevin Ireland, Communications Manager,
At Green Dot, the four R’s of
sustainability are reduce, reuse, recycle
and return. Green Dot’s bioplastics
and biocomposites help our customers meet a range of
sustainability goals, whether they are seeking to reduce
the amount of nonrenewable petroleum-based feedstocks,
increase the use of reclaimed biobased feedstocks or recycled
plastics, or create products and packaging that can be
returned to nature when placed in a composting environment.
We believe that making plastic more sustainable is similar
to increasing fuel efficiency in the automotive industry –
small changes can have large impacts. Reducing petroleum
feedstock in plastics by just 25% can decrease greenhouse
gas emissions equivalent to removing 16. 5 million
passenger cars from the road every year. Our customers
are doing just that, reducing the amount of petroleum-feedstocks in their plastics by using starch, natural fibers,
agricultural byproducts, and wood fibers to lighten the
environmental impact of their products.
We see exciting opportunities to ‘upcycle’ recycled plastics.
In the past, recycled plastics were relegated to low-end
applications and disposable goods. We’ve combined recycled
plastic with natural fibers to make biocomposites that are
stronger and more durable than recycled plastic alone. Our
customers are using these biocomposites to make high
quality durable goods designed to last for decades.
In the next five years, we believe that an increasing
number of products will use biodegradable plastics.
In the past, biodegradable plastics lacked the physical
properties. However, new formulations have allowed
these plastics to meet or exceed the physical properties
of some conventional plastics. Our customers are finding
that biodegradable plastics can not only reduce plastic
pollution and landfill waste, but also prevent chemicals like
phthalates, and BPA, often used in traditional plastics, from
entering into our environment. As the infrastructure for
plastic composting continues to develop, we believe that
more companies will turn to these materials to meet rising
consumer demand for more sustainable products.
Luis Tissone, Director of Life Sciences,
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions
Over the last decades, population growth
and current trends have put a burden on
renewable and non-renewable resources.
Material sustainability is becoming a central aspect within
the Life Sciences industry and it is an increasingly important
driver for business growth and new product developments.
Companies are being faced with the challenge of
setting up an adequate business platform to enhance
innovations that meet the demand for sustainable materials
that perform, add value, meet quality requirements, are
environmentally friendly, and are not a burden to limited
natural resources. For component manufacturers, it is
mandatory to continuously work in higher performance
sustainable materials that have been engineered to work
in demanding environments while allowing new design
possibilities and critical product aesthetics.
The preferred materials to be used in the coming years
are the ones that can provide abilities to be processed in a
sustainable way while controlled and shaped into advanced
new products. In an age of constrained resources and
stringent regulatory requirements, such materials need to
add value and eliminate the risks of unforeseen situations
that can affect a company’s reputation and bottom line.
Everything starts with quality and few things are more
disruptive than production line shutdown due to material
quality, the importance of inspection and quality assurance
across the supply chain will continue to grow when
selecting sustainable materials.
Product development will be influenced by the need
to find suppliers that can master these challenges and
have access to quantity of sustainable raw materials. In
the next 5 years, government regulations will continue
to place emphasis on material sustainability and force it
to play a stronger role in the product life cycle of medical
devices from inception to disposal. Global companies that
can deliver cost effective products with materials that are
regionally sourced and manufactured will have an edge over
Design for sustainability will progressively become
a central aspect of product development putting more
emphasis on the selection of environmentally friendly
materials, the reduction of waste, and the optimization of
devices without compromising on quality or performance.