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J&J’s Ethicon to Use Eastman’s Sustainable Co-Polyester for Medical Device Packaging

Image courtesy of Eastman medical device packaging using Eastar Renew 6763
Ethicon is the first medical device manufacturer to use Eastar Renew, a material produced via Eastman’s molecular recycling technology.

Medical device OEM Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company, has announced that it will use Eastman’s Renew co-polyester for its sterile barrier packaging. It’s the first medical device manufacturer to use the material and, thus, contribute to a more circular future, said Eastman in the announcement.

For the packaging, Ethicon will use medical-grade Eastar Renew 6763, which is powered by Eastman’s molecular recycling technology. The material reportedly is indistinguishable from Eastar 6763 co-polyester in terms of durability, safety, and performance. The only difference, according to Eastman, is that by sourcing Eastar Renew, companies can certify that plastic waste is being diverted from landfills to produce new packaging.

Through this agreement, the goal is to divert waste volume equal to 25% of the weight of total packaging produced, with the potential to increase up to 50% by the end of 2023 based on a mass balance approach. This commitment is backed by Ethicon’s ISCC PLUS certification, awarded by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC), which traces 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,” said Scott Ballard, Eastman Plastics Division President. “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.”

Molecular recycling technologies hold great promise for helping healthcare companies increase their sustainability profiles, said Eastman in the news release. Mechanically recycled materials cannot be used in healthcare applications because of stringent purity and transparency requirements. By contrast, Eastman’s advanced recycling technology breaks down waste to its molecular building blocks, which the company says are indistinguishable from virgin materials. Hence, they can be used to create high-performance polymers suitable for the medical industry. And because these technologies source plastic waste as feedstock, they leave fossil resources in the ground and result in lower greenhouse gas emissions.  

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