Clariant highlights a sustainable approach towards healthcare


Sustainability can be a popular topic of conversation at two major healthcare tradeshows in early 2020, and the Clariant Healthcare Polymer Solutions team will be there with practical options that can be evaluated today. According to the press release, at both Pharmapack Europe starting from 5 to 6 February 2020 in Paris and MD&M West starting from 11 to 13 February 2020 in Anaheim, California, Clariant experts will be talking about the scope of the plastic waste problem. In addition, the company will also discuss how the healthcare industry can confront the challenge, and the ways Clariant is helping its customers be more environmentally responsible while remaining compliant and commercially successful.

Steve Duckworth, global head – Marketing and Business Development for Healthcare Polymer Solutions explains, “Healthcare accounts for only about 5% of all plastics consumed, and the volume of waste derived from healthcare devices and packaging is relatively small compared to other sources. Nevertheless, it still becomes a topic of importance to medical device and pharmaceutical packaging companies.”

According to Duckworth, regulations governing the use of plastics in healthcare applications dictate that materials must be well-characterized and consistent to ensure patient safety, which limits the sustainability options available. “We must try to be pragmatic, even when it comes to an understandably ‘hot topic’ across the plastics industry. However, I believe the Mevopur portfolio of medical-grade products and services includes some solutions that can allow healthcare companies to take steps in a ‘green’ direction without compromising their primary mission.” In addition, he points to several specific initiatives mentioned below.

Reducing material consumption via light weighting

Taking advantage of its Hydrocerol chemical-foaming agents, Clariant is helping to reduce the amount of plastics used in devices and packaging, while also saving energy during processing. According to the company, the active ingredients are considered food contact safe and could be used in healthcare applications with little adaptation needed.

Reducing material consumption via thin-walling

Mevopur nucleation technology uses United States Pharmacopeial (USP) or European Pharmacopeial (EP) – tested additives to control the crystallinity of specific grades of polyolefins, so that wall thickness can be reduced without compromising top-load properties. Thinner-wall sections can also result in faster cooling times and lower energy costs. A new Mevopur high-density polyethylene compound offers a 30 to 40% greater resistance to moisture vapor transmission, thereby compensating for any loss in moisture barrier performance due to thin-walling.

Medical-grade non-oil-based polyolefins

According to reports, more than 65% of pharmaceutical packaging involves the use of polyethylene (PE) and it, and other polyolefin resins, are commonly used in medical devices too. Clariant is introducing Mevopur bio-based materials – resins that are chemically identical to conventional polymers but made from non-oil-based feedstocks for reduced levels of CO2 every kilogram. Available in the form of color and additive masterbatches or ready-to-use compounds, they come with a full regulatory package including USP 661.1, EP 3.1, ISO 10993, and International Conference on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) Q3D certification.

Supporting recycling collaboration

By the end of the third quarter of 2020, Clariant will install a recycling mini-plant at its project house plant in Pogliano, Italy, to create Clariant’s EcoCircle center of excellence. It will have all the equipment needed to reclaim and reprocess scrap bottles, film, and other forms of plastic waste. The center will bring all of Clariant’s polymer know-how to bear on the problem, forge partnerships along the value chain to develop sustainable solutions, and develop experts in the recycling and bioplastics areas who can consult with customers.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

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