Survey results from CleanMed 2013 attendees

Tyvek® Rx: October 2013


CleanMed, a premier conference on environmental sustainability for the healthcare sector, provided an ideal opportunity for the DuPont Medical and Pharmaceutical Protection Team to obtain valuable information from the industry about recycling packaging wastes and package design.

Held April 24-26 in Boston, Mass., CleanMed 2013 was attended by a record number of healthcare professionals, including clinicians, administrators, purchasing agents and environmental services/sustainability specialists. Most of the attendees who stopped by our booth completed the survey.

The majority of respondents (82%) work in hospitals and the others work in clinics, academic research or for industry suppliers. Here are some of the key things we learned from the survey respondents:

Rating their organization’s current commitment to recycling on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is currently practicing single-stream packaging waste recycling throughout the organization and 1 is no commitment or thought to recycling packaging waste), 85% of respondents rated their organization at 6 or higher, with 60% rating their organization at 8 or higher.

The top three challenges in recycling packaging wastes in inpatient areas were identified as: 

  1. difficulties in identifying which materials can be recycled (58% of respondents)
  2. space limitations in patient care areas (48% of respondents)
  3. difficulties in separating out and collecting the recyclable materials (45% of respondents)

When shown a medical package made with DuPont™ Tyvek® that features a #2 triangle symbol: 85% of respondents said this package would help in identifying which recycle stream it goes into

  1. 81% of respondents agreed that the #2 triangle symbol means the package is easy to recycle
  2. 29% of respondents said they prefer products with this package designation

The majority of respondents (83%) agree that knowing a package is recyclable would favorably influence their purchasing decision.

Clearly, there is a strong and growing trend for hospitals to practice single-stream packaging waste recycling throughout the organization. And labeling medical packages to make it easier for clinicians to know which recycle stream each medical package goes into is essential.