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Say Goodbye to “The Graduate”

15 Nov

It’s Not Plastic Anymore…

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Wet Loads Avoided

Remember the scene in the Graduate when Dustin Hoffman’s future father-in-law tells him to go into PLASTICS, the growing industry at the time, one of mankind’s greatest innovations.  When we started Case Medical thirty years ago manufacturing custom trays out of metal, we were told the same thing.  PLASTIC was the best material for all things in our industry…for sterilization trays, containers, great to display instruments.  They look so pretty, so what if they’re wet? Luckily, we didn’t follow the trend for too long.  When we tested our plastic trays and saw wet packs after sterilization, and experienced warping and crazing when instrument cleaners were used to decontaminate them, we scrapped the project.  It simply made sense to stick with what we had in the first place, thermo-conductive anodized aluminum trays with stainless steel hardware.

Single Use Accessories Contribute to Waste

From blue wrap to peel pouches, tip and corner protectors, absorbent liners and even a protective card for endoscope tips, the question remains, why are single use items so popular? They do not offer cost savings and they load up our landfills. Consider water bottles, a universal example of how the good can go bad. Water in a 16-ounce plastic bottle becomes expensive, might have BPA’s in it, and after a single use the plastic bottle is off to the landfill, or worse yet into a river or stream and then the ocean. They are finite waste that remain forever. Considering all we know about the harmful knock-on effects of single use items, why do we continue to embrace them?

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Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

We can stop the senseless waste by following the 5 R's, four simple actions taken, if possible, prior to 'recycling': refuse single use items, reduce dependance on them, reuse them, if possible, repurpose them, and finally recycle them. The demands of the SPD make reuse and repurpose impractical if not impossible, but refusing and reducing the use of blue wrap, peel packs and other single use packaging is both easy to do and saves money in the long run. This methodology applied to your facility's waste reduction and recycling efforts minimizes landfill waste and helps meet recycling goals.

One Word… Containers

If you like the idea of the 5 R’s, start by refusing to use blue wrap and peel pouches for everything being processed. An assortment of thoughtfully chosen rigid, reusable containers can drastically reduce blue wrap use, while simultaneously better protecting expensive instruments, and reducing the need for re-processing due to tears. Case Medical’s SteriTite Container system along with MediTray configurable instrument trays offer unparalleled versatility. From containers built to hold and protect long narrow robotic arms to a wide variety of small and lidded trays to replace peel packs, Case Medical can help you create a sustainable and re-usable packaging solution for your facility.

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Sustainability; Yesterday, Today, and For Future Generations

Recently, we attended the EPA Safer Choice Summit and learned that plastic waste was out of favor and in fact should be avoided at all costs and replaced with reusable, biodegradable materials. It was like an “ah ha” moment for me as we started on our sustainability journey a long time ago, not only because it was sustainable, but it simply made good sense.  Now, with climate change, air, landfill and water quality concerns, reusable, recycle-able, and environmentally preferred materials are more critical than ever before. The time has come to say goodbye to the advice given Dustin Hoffman in the movie “The Graduate”… Plastics! It’s time we embrace the idea of a healthy environment safe for future generations of humans and all the other living creatures on our beautiful Earth. As a 2022 U.S. EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year, Case Medical has been recognized as a manufacturer/formulator whose products are safer for people, the environment, and the planet.

Visit us at www.casemed.com to learn more about our products and how they can help your facility lighten its impact on the environment for the good of us all. Look for the Safer Choice label on our products and on those at your local market.

Kindest Regards,
Marcia Frieze and the Case Medical team

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