Say Yes to this Dress

Bella Wedding Gown

Bella the Bride is a wedding gown made of discarded DuPont™ Tyvek® for medical packaging to bring attention to the recyclability of healthcare packaging waste. - Photo courtesy of Beacon Converters, Inc.

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Bella Wedding Gown - Front

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Bella Wedding Gown - Back

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Participants of the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) East Expo and Conference that took place in New York City earlier this month were surprised by the unveiling of Bella the Bride, a wedding gown made of discarded DuPont™ Tyvek® for medical packaging.

Bella is a sculpture commissioned by Beacon Converters to bring attention to the recyclability of medical packaging waste. The name Bella was chosen to honor the wife of William Francis Daly, the founder of Beacon Converters. The train of the gown is covered with more than 400 flowers, which also are made from discarded Tyvek®, used as a sterile barrier in medical devices and supplies. The flowers on the train, as well as those used for the bouquet, were handcrafted by hundreds of healthcare industry professionals from hospitals, manufacturers and educational institutions across the United States.

“We are delighted that Beacon Converters has taken this innovative and fun approach to helping raise awareness that there are viable alternatives to sending tremendous amounts of healthcare packaging waste to landfills,” said Marc Bandman, marketing manager, Americas, DuPont Medical & Pharmaceutical Protection.  “As a founding member of the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC), DuPont applauds Beacon for helping to advance the mission of inspiring sustainability for plastic products and materials used in the delivery of healthcare. And, we are pleased that Tyvek® is playing a key role in showcasing what can be done when healthcare packaging is repurposed into a wide variety of different products.”

Beacon Converters commissioned Nancy Judd, an artist and environmental educator who creates couture fashion from trash, to make this unique wedding gown from healthcare packaging waste that was destined for the landfill or incineration.  Beacon Converters also invited members of the healthcare industry to make flowers for Bella the Bride and hosted flower-making workshops during AORN 2016 and a sewing circle event during CleanMed 2016.

DuPont™ Tyvek® was selected for this project because of its widespread use throughout the healthcare industry and its ability to be recycled or recovered for repurposing.  Tyvek® often gains a second life in products such as plastic decking and lawn furniture. In addition to medical and pharmaceutical packaging, Tyvek® is widely used for personal protective equipment, weatherization systems and envelopes.

“Beacon’s main reason for commissioning the creation of this wedding gown with Nancy Judd is to raise awareness about reducing the amount of healthcare packaging waste to landfill,” said Terri Shank, sustainability officer/director of IT & Marketing Practices, Beacon Converters, Inc.

“Healthcare is a large sector of our GNP and statistics published by non-profit Practice Greenhealth show that between 20 to 30 percent of a hospital’s overall waste is generated from the operating room,” said Terri.  “As an industry, we need packaging to provide the highest level of protection and to maintain sterility, but after product use, there is an enormous opportunity to rethink the value of the discarded materials as a resource and look for new channels for recovery.”

The new brand platform for Tyvek® is For Greater Good™. Bella the Bride helps illustrate how Tyvek® medical packaging, which helps maintain medical device sterility and supports healthy patient outcomes, also supports environmental stewardship initiatives through recycling.