Tyvek® Rx: June 2015
Each year, tens of millions of disposable surgical skin staplers—made of non-renewable materials—are used in operating rooms (ORs) around the world. These devices represent a significant environmental impact and illustrate the challenge hospitals face as they focus on sustainability initiatives. Now, there is a sustainable alternative for this medical device, thanks to NewGen Surgical, Inc., of San Rafael, Calif.
“Using Smart Sustainable Design™, we look at disposable medical devices or products used every day in the OR and ask if they can be redesigned with materials that are more sustainable,” explained Rob Chase, founder and president of NewGen Surgical, Inc. “We then determine if we can reduce or eliminate the plastic in the product and still deliver the same familiar clinical performance.”
The result? NewGen Surgical introduced the first sustainably designed single-use disposable skin stapler, giving hospitals a new product solution that can help meet sustainability goals and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) objectives.
Designed to deliver the same clinical performance, the NewGen Surgical NGS35W Skin Stapler is made with 69% plant-based material. Other environmental benefits include a 67% reduction in energy used in production and 69% less plastic produced and discarded, when compared to the same product made of 100% oil-based plastic.
As a member of Practice Greenhealth and the Greening the OR® Initiative, NewGen Surgical is well aware that in addition to disposable medical devices, sterile packaging is another major source of waste in the OR.
“Most sterile barrier packaging for skin staplers are a mix of plastics, which does not facilitate recycling,” said Chase. “We wanted the packaging for our product to be as sustainable as possible. That’s why we chose to use DuPont™ Tyvek® 1059B as the lidding material and TEQethylene™ as the rigid tray when we introduced the NGS35W Skin Stapler.”
Both Tyvek® and TEQethylene™ are high-density polyethylene (HDPE) #2 and can be recycled without the need for segregating. This single polymer packaging meets recommendations from the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC), a technical coalition working to inspire and enable sustainable, cost-effective recycling solutions for plastic products and materials used in the delivery of healthcare.
NewGen Surgical has received positive feedback about its choice of packaging. Gerrie Davis, RN, CNOR, sums it up well: “There is tremendous opportunity for manufacturers to think about all parts of surgical products—including the packaging—when embracing sustainability in healthcare. I appreciate that NewGen Surgical considers sustainable materials as part of their total package. NewGen Surgical’s products are packaged in materials that allow them to be redirected in to recycling programs; therefore, reducing waste and contributing to hospital sustainability initiatives.”
In addition to supporting sustainability, Tyvek® provides other important benefits, including outstanding microbial barrier protection; significantly reduced risk of package failure; low risk of device contamination; and compatibility with a broad range of sterilization methods.
“Based on our extensive research and feedback from healthcare professionals, we’ve identified a rigid tray or pouch of HDPE with a lid of Tyvek® as the best-case scenario for hospitals to be able to recycle so we would look to utilize this combination for packaging other NewGen Surgical products in the future,” said Chase.
NewGen Surgical, Inc. develops and manufactures sustainably designed single-use medical devices and surgical products. The company’s mission is to decrease waste in the OR by redesigning disposable products with sustainable materials that minimize their environmental footprint. To learn more, visit www.newgensurgical.com.
Smart Sustainable Design™ is a trademark of NewGen Surgical, Inc.
Greening the OR® is a registered trademark of Practice Greenhealth.
TEQethylene™ is a trademark of TEQ.