Eastman (NYSE:EMN) inked an agreement with Johnson & Johnson Medtech subsidiary, Ethicon, to provide materials for Eastman Renew’s medical device sterile-barrier packaging. The agreement puts Ethicon as the first healthcare company to use medical-grade Eastman Renew materials in its product packaging. Specifically, the company will use Eastar Renew 6763 copolyester for its medical device barrier packaging, which performs the same as the former packaging materials the company has been using for decades, except that it contributes to recycling efforts and won’t be show up in landfills.
The deal here diverts waste volume up to 25 per cent of the weight of the total packaging produced—with a potential bounce of up to 50 per cent by the end of 2023. The commitment is supported by Ethicon’s ISCC PLUS certification, which is awarded by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification, which is responsible for tracing sustainable sourcing of feedstock.
“The companies worked closely to chart a path toward creating a more circular future for packaging of medical devices, driving landfill diversion and reducing carbon emissions. With our molecular recycling technologies, we can improve the sustainability of products that have been the hallmark of safety and performance in healthcare for decades,” said Scott Ballard, president of Eastman plastics division.
Eastman is a specialty materials company involved in the production of a broad range of products that people use everyday. The company works with customers to deliver products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability—hence the deal with Ethicon. The company’s growth model incorporates tech platforms, deep customer engagement and application development in order to grow its positions in markets like transportation, building, construction and consumables. At present, Eastman employs over 14,000 people globally and serves customers in over 100 countries.
The company’s overall aim here is circularity, and collaborations like this will help push change in the industry, using molecular recycling to increase recycling rates and produce a circular healthcare economy.
Mechanical recycling of materials isn’t possible in healthcare applications because of the purity and transparency requirements, but Eastman’s molecular recycling tech offers a way to reduce plastic waste. It breaks down waste at a molecular level, which are indistinguishable from virgin materials, and can be used and re-used to create polymers suitable for the medical industry. The best part is that these technologies source plastic waste as feedstock, therefore leaving fossil resources in the ground and not contributing to climate change.