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The Sustainable Medical Technology Institute will focus on reducing the environmental impact of the company’s products, partly by addressing the “use of excess plastics.”

Geoff Giordano

April 27, 2022

2 Min Read
planet earth cut in half with "green" medical cross hovering above it
Image courtesy of Alamy/Peachaya Tanomsup

The sustainable acquisition and use of plastics in medical applications will be a key part of the focus of a new companywide institute announced by medical technology giant Becton, Dickinson and Co. (BD).

BD’s Sustainable Medical Technology Institute (SMTI) has been launched to harness BD’s expertise across multiple business units in a quest to reduce the environmental impact of the company’s portfolio.

Still in the formation stage, the SMTI’s broad scope will include assessing and making determinations about how material acquisition and usage can align with circularity objectives.

Operating in North America, Europe, and Asia, the institute will focus on achieving sustainability gains in three key areas over the next decade:

  • product design strategies

  • sterilization technologies

  • materials of concern

“We know that plastics, especially for single-use medical devices, are integral to the delivery of healthcare, and we will strive to address the use of excess plastics across our very complex portfolio,” said Maureen Mazurek, BD Vice President of Sustainability and EHS. “One example of how the SMTI will look to accomplish this is by partnering with plastics manufacturers and suppliers to find innovative solutions, such as the use of alternate material sources — including circular material flows, where appropriate — while ensuring that we continue to prioritize high-quality, safe products for patients.”

The SMTI will draw upon the input of BD researchers and engineers and experts in quality assurance, regulations, policy, and operations.

"By empowering our teams to tap into deep expertise in areas like engineering and materials science, coupled with access to breakthrough research, technologies, and government and academic partnerships, we are well-positioned to be the best environmental stewards of our portfolio,” asserted Dr. Amit Limaye, SMTI Director and Director of Sustainability Research and Development at BD. “It is our vision to create a strategic roadmap that will be integral across the organization, demonstrating how an ethical and sustainable company can drive growth, while meeting patient and customer needs in the most environmentally sustainable way possible."

To inform the company's product life cycle roadmap and enable adoption of a sustainable-by-design product development process, tasks high on SMTI’s early agenda are:

  • Re-establishing minimum environmental and human health criteria for new products and product changes aligned with the company's environmental, social, and governance commitments and goals for 2030 and beyond.

  • Identifying new ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, or replace materials.

About the Author(s)

Geoff Giordano

Geoff Giordano is a tech journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in all facets of publishing. He has reported extensively on the gamut of plastics manufacturing technologies and issues, including 3D printing materials and methods; injection, blow, micro and rotomolding; additives, colorants and nanomodifiers; blown and cast films; packaging; thermoforming; tooling; ancillary equipment; and the circular economy. Contact him at [email protected].

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