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A Creative Way to Encourage Resource Recovery

Unused sterile packaging is repurposed into art to support children's health and wellness initiatives.

Image of ReMakers Dream Catchers made from painted DuPont Tyvek peel pouches courtesy of Beacon Converters

Medical packaging waste was given a second life a few years ago thanks to Bella the Bride, an effort by Beacon Converters to transform discarded Tyvek into a wedding dress and raise awareness of packaging sustainability. The sterile packaging manufacturer has sponsored a mission again via ReMakersCreate, a program that turns clean, unused sterilization packaging into an uplifting craft project. The craft guide and story, The ReMakers Dream Catcher, was created by artist Terri Daly Shank (also Beacon’s director of marketing and IT projects).

“Sterile medical packaging is built to last, so this project gives it secondary value,” Shank told MD+DI. “We are taking the message of Bella the Bride and putting it into the hands of those who can benefit from the power of art.”

Shank said that Beacon strives to reduce its waste of the discarded peel pouches that are produced when it starts a manufacturing line, as the converted materials currently “don’t have value in typical recycling processes.”

In an email Beacon sent during the 2019 holiday season, the company stated that “the dream catcher project is a way to give back to the community while encouraging new thinking around resource recovery.”

To complement Beacon’s donation of such pouches, Dupont Tyvek Medical & Pharmaceutical Protection donated the art supplies needed, and Beacon sourced beneficiaries and assembled dream catcher craft kits (see below image provided by Beacon Converters). A supply list is included in the kit that allows the recipient to replenish their own art supplies and request more reclaimed pouches from Beacon if they choose to keep the project going.

In 2019, more than 200 Dream Catchers supply kits were donated to children’s health and wellness initiatives including:

  • A medical school community service program.
  • An arts in medicine University program.
  • A sleep away camp for children with life threatening illness (and their families).
  • A recreation facility that helps children and teens with physical and mental challenges become as independent as possible.
  • Two non-profit "free arts" programs for children and teens in NYC.
  • Multiple children's hospitals.

“Art can be a complement to healing,” Shank told MD+DI. “Art provides a creative escape and empowers those it touches.”

Shank has also created an exhibit, “Enchanted,” which is a series of 12 pieces of art and 6 shadow boxes. The textured paintings are painted on DuPont Tyvek and layered with painted film reclaimed from film peel pouches made with Tyvek. "The artwork whimsically celebrates our connection to nature and encourages us to reimagine a different outcome for clean discarded healthcare packaging," according to Beacon.

“I would like this to become a traveling exhibit to demonstrate creative thinking around resource recovery,” Shank said. It has been previously displayed at Hackensack University Medical Center and individual pieces in the collection were showcased at DuPont's MD&M West 2019 booth and Beacon's HealthPack 2019 booth. Currently it is on display at Beacon.

To learn more about this initiative or download the supply list and story, visit www.beaconconverters.com/Remakers.

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