The Three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

01 May

One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Treasure

The ECO Trio is all about minimizing the amount of waste we produce, reusing products as much as we can, and repurposing materials for a new purpose. According to the U.S. EPA, the most effective way to reduce waste is not to create it in the first place. Reduce means to cut back on the amount of trash we generate. Reuse means to find new ways to use things that otherwise would have been thrown out. Recycle means to turn something old and useless (like plastic milk jugs) into something new and useful such as picnic benches, trash cans and playground equipment. Last week’s blog taught us something about the natural world seen through the eyes of an octopus. If you missed it, click here. Once you view it you may never want to eat octopus again. This week let’s look at how all of us in healthcare and industry can contribute to a sustainable future.

My Journey

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It is over three decades since I, a former clinical social worker, started my journey with Case Medical as a medical device manufacturer and formulator of safer instrument chemistries. In fact, I had no training in engineering or material science, and I certainly didn’t know then how sustainability would become an important critical mission in the current millennia in healthcare. Recently, I was featured in an engineering textbook called, Materials and Sustainability, Building a Circular Future. I was interviewed based upon my development and advocacy for safer chemical usage and reusable materials. I got involved in sustainability simply because it made good sense. Reusable equipment should be developed for long term use, chemicals should be effective and designed to be released safely into the wastewater stream, and medical devices and chemical agents should do no harm. 


Aluminum Can Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

When the medical device industry went into plastic trays, we developed devices (sterilization containers and trays) made of anodized aluminum. Not only is aluminum, a very durable metal, it is 100% recyclable and can be recycled again and again without degrading its inherent value. Nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today. Aluminum, often referred to as the “green” metal, has a high strength-to-weight ratio making it especially useful as a structural material, weighing up to 65% less than steel. When it is anodized and treated the surface of aluminum is as hard as a sapphire, even a diamond, highly corrosion resistant and compatible with most materials and sterilants including hydrogen peroxide.  Also, it reduces energy consumption as it is extremely thermal conductive. In an autoclave it facilitates drying. Think about warming up a slice of pizza on a piece of aluminum foil.  The pizza heats up fast and the aluminum foil cools so quickly when removed from the oven that it is safe to touch.

“Don’t Throw The Baby Out With The Wash Water”

At Case Medical, we develop products to be safe, effective, and sustainable. When it comes to preserving the life of anodized aluminum products, like our SteriTite containers, only harsh chemicals can reduce their useful life. Take it from us. We’ve been around the block for years and have a test lab right here on our premises to verify what we say. Use only pH neutral or near neutral cleaners, our SuperNova, Case Solutions and NovaPlus detergents followed by a rinse to decontaminate sterilization containers is all that’s needed. After all, SteriTite containers were developed to be reusable, sustainable, and durable! Now it’s up to you to keep it that way.  If you missed our technical bulletin with a warning to avoid using environmental wipes instead of cleaning, click here to view it.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information about our EPA Safer Choice certified cleaners, and how to monitor the surface integrity of the container with a certified solvent.  Because we believe in sustainability, cost savings, and science, we can tell you how to repair surface damage before it’s too late.

Visit us anytime at to learn more about our products and services. We are here to help. Case Medical is a U.S. EPA SAFER CHOICE Partner or the Year for Manufacturer Formulator and recognized in NJ as Innovative Manufacturer of the Year.

Kindest Regards,

Marcia Frieze and the Case Medical team

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