Apr 21, 2023
BD collaborates with regional partners in Denmark on an innovative initiative for circular economy solutions

Being a part of initiative driven by like-minded partners allows BD to move toward reducing its environmental footprint in collaboration with value chain partners

By Amit Limaye, Director, Sustainable Medical Technology Institute, BD

In 2022, BD formed the Sustainable Medical Technology Institute (SMTI) to focus on reducing the environmental impact of our product portfolio and further progress toward our 2030+ environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. The institute works to drive sustainability into all aspects of BD product life cycle – from design, through manufacturing, use, and eventually, disposal. Through this process, we strive to model circular economy solutions wherever possible, partnering with customers, regulated waste management companies, recyclers, and others to build an optimal approach that takes into account all stakeholders, because success cannot be accomplished by any one stakeholder alone.

With this end goal in mind, we are partnering with the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at Odense University Hospital, Denmark, along with The Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark, Danish Technological Institute and GMAF Circular Medico / EcoFITT to evaluate a circular economy solution for one of healthcare’s most commonly used products – blood collection tubes. As a global leader in MedTech, we produce billions of tubes annually, making us the world's largest manufacturer of evacuated blood collection tubes. In Denmark, the used tubes are considered a biohazardous and regulated medical waste, and therefore are currently disposed via incineration. As a part of this effort, the team will investigate the most effective means of enabling recycling of these tubes, which are made of very high-quality raw materials, while also ensuring safety and proper hygiene.

“The hospitals are obligated to be involved in the green agenda, and the laboratories are one of the main users of potentially re-useable materials, e.g., plastic. We have therefore looked at the possibility for a more circular solution for the blood collection tubes used. At the Odense University Hospital in Denmark, these materials sum up to 16 tonnes yearly, which we think – and hope – can be used more efficiently,” shared Mads Nybo, Chief Physician at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, a key stakeholder and driving force behind this project.

The present effort in Denmark will focus on establishing technical feasibility over the course of several months. The team will investigate steps involved in handling these tubes while ensuring safety and proper hygiene, followed by recycling, and evaluating quality of the plastic obtained. This feasibility phase will inform the team’s efforts for the next phase which will explore additional aspects required to enable a circular solution. 

BD sees this as one opportunity to proactively evaluate circular economy solutions for medical devices that are commonly used in hospitals and delivery of healthcare. A circular solution for these tubes will avoid negative environmental impacts, improve resource utilization, and extend the useful life for high-quality plastics used in the manufacturing of these tubes.

This is one of many initiatives that BD is currently exploring to drive circular economy solutions for managing post-consumer healthcare materials around the globe. Earlier this year we shared details about piloting a next-generation circularity program in the U.S. that explores feasibility of recycling BD syringes back into the manufacturing process.

For more information about BD’s 2030+ ESG commitments and goals, visit https://news.bd.com/esg.


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