The need for sustainable manufacturing practices is more pressing than ever and medical devices are no exception. Medical Technology caught up with thought leaders from across the industry to pull together five top tips for manufacturers.

According to the UK Government, plastic waste in the oceans is set to treble within the next decade. Everyday single-use plastics can take over 400 years to biodegrade, which is why it’s so important medical device manufacturers look into using sustainable materials in their equipment.

Rowles says: “We must look at different materials, such as reusable plastic cartridges, or even paper or plant-based recyclable housings.”

American start-up Lia recently made headlines for producing the world’s first flushable pregnancy test, which is made up of the same natural plant fibres as toilet paper and breaks down when flushed. It still works in just the same way as a traditional OTC pregnancy test, looking for the presence of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) and showing one line for a negative result and two for a positive one. If binned instead of flushed, Lia still biodegrades entirely within ten weeks.

Research is also burgeoning around renewable polyethylene (PR) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), as these materials are easily recyclable.

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