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Roche Diabetes Care launches recycling pilot as part of green pledge

By Editor
6th February 2020
Technology, Type 1 diabetes

A new recycling scheme has been introduced in the UK by Roche Diabetes Care in a bid to reduce waste.

The company has announced plans to go green where possible as part of a wider global commitment and also to help the NHS meet its own target to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Roche Diabetes Care is piloting ways to reduce waste, including a recycling scheme for Tyvek plastics, and also changing some types of packaging.

Karen Maxwell is the Safety, Health and Environment Officer at Roche Diabetes Care

The plastic film covering plastic trays carrying cannulas and tubing for insulin pumps sent out by Roche is made from Tyvek, which is only recycled by specialist centres. From this month, pre-paid envelopes to send the Tyvek to a recycling centre are available on request to anyone ordering supplies for their Accu-Chek insulin pump. Feedback from the first 1,500 people will then determine how far the scheme gets rolled out.

This is in response to feedback from people with diabetes and hospital procurement teams as well as a general move by Roche, both nationally and internationally, to prioritise environmental issues.

Trial and pilot

Roche is also exploring other green ideas, using a trial and pilot approach to test whether greener initiatives are sustainable and do not turn out to have a greater environmental impact.

Roche is also now issuing cannulas and tubing separately, rather than in joint packs. The necessity for sterility was why joint packs had originally been chosen to package the items, but if the person is only using one of the items once the seal has been broken, then it meant more medical equipment wastage.

While the separate packs result in using recyclable plastic trays and Tyvek, the overall environmental impact is reduced by not wasting the medical equipment in the first place which takes far more energy to produce and transport.

We have a responsibility as a manufacturer to do what we can to respect the environment and we take this responsibility seriously

Another initiative being considered is swapping plastic bubble wrap bags with corrugated cardboard, while more visibility about what packaging is made of is also being looked at.

Karen Maxwell, Safety, Health and Environment Officer at Roche Diabetes Centre, said: “We have a responsibility as a manufacturer to do what we can to respect the environment and we take this responsibility seriously.

“We use Tyvek as a seal for sterile products for health and safety reasons, but it can only be recycled by specialist centres. This pilot is about giving people the option to recycle in a very convenient way.

“We are exploring other green initiatives and are also open to ideas, so I would urge people with suggestions to get in touch with their local Roche contact.”

The company is taking steps, big and small, as part of this global commitment to protect the environment. Employees at Roche Diabetes Care’s UK headquarters in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, are recycling crisp packets, collecting unneeded household items for a local homelessness charity and encouraging greener ways to get to work. The Roche group recently donated AU$250,000 to support the relief efforts in response to the Australian bush fires which have been attributed in part to climate change.

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