Speaker says PET has advantages for medical packaging

By Jeremy Carroll
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: September 11, 2013 2:04 pm ET
Updated: September 11, 2013 2:11 pm ET

Image By: Plastic Technologies Inc. Scott Steele

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Medical, Packaging, Materials Suppliers

GURNEE, ILL. — PET might not be ideal for many medical applications, including devices, but it can serve as the perfect plastic for packaging for devices.

So says Scott Steele, president of Plastic Technologies Inc.

“There are many great attributes to PET and we like to say it’s a triple threat,” he said. “It has great attributes like clarity and toughness. And it’s easy to process.”

Steele spoke at the Society of Plastic Engineers Medical Plastics MiniTec, held Sept. 9 in Gurnee.

Because of the routine nature of hospitals and the health care industry, Steele said it is set up nicely for a recycling system where device packaging made out of PET can be easily recycled and returned to the market at a very clean and high grade.

“You have everything you need for a good recycling [with medical device packaging],” he told the crowd of about 100. “What drives recycling is the availability of feedstock and consistency of supply, and the pull for the marketplace for the [commodity].”

All of those exist in the medical device packaging market.

The material has a long history without any regulatory issues, Steele said. And while it is widely available and easily recycled, the recycling rate for the material is only at approximately 30 percent. That contrasts with more than a 60 percent recycling rate for aluminum, he said.

Key in making the market as valuable as possible is to keep it as simple as possible, Steele said. The packaging — around one-time or multiple-use items used in the health care industry regularly — should be PET, but little else.

“If you are going to use PET for packaging for medical devices, I highly recommend for you to keep it as pure as possible. Because that will make it as recyclable as possible,” Steele said. “PET and PVC together are a bad, bad combination. PET degrades the PVC if you react them together and vice versa. They can be separated, that’s the good news. It’s just better if they didn’t have to be separated.”

Steele said because of the wealth of products PET can be made into, the market for PET is so much better compared to polystyrene and PVC.

In addition to traditional PET, there’s the emerging bio-derived PET market too, which can be used for packaging as well, he said. The so-called “plant bottle” material from Coca-Cola Co., shows promise, he said.

“There are unique materials that are coming out with unique properties,” Steele said. “If you haven’t considered them for your operations, perhaps you should.”

The bottom line is the industry provides a great opportunity for simple process for recycling packaging materials, making PET ideal, Steele said.

“There is a tremendous ability to collect the packaging materials that are used at facilities,” he said.


Comments

Speaker says PET has advantages for medical packaging

By Jeremy Carroll
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: September 11, 2013 2:04 pm ET
Updated: September 11, 2013 2:11 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

New medical firm buys Clairson Plastics

September 19, 2014 4:33 pm ET

Custom injection molder Clairson Plastics is being sold to a new start-up that plans to dive into the medical market with a new dialyzer, a key...    More

Image

Foster building medical polymers plant

September 19, 2014 1:39 pm ET

Foster Delivery Science is investing $8 million in a new plant in Putnam, Conn., for production of medical polymer blends, as well as rods, film or...    More

Image

BP to restart damaged PTA unit in limited capacity by November

September 19, 2014 10:27 am ET

British Petroleum plc may restart its fire-damaged purified terephthalic acid (PTA) feedstock unit in South Carolina in late October or early...    More

Image

Bayer spinning off plastics business

September 18, 2014 8:49 am ET

Bayer AG will spin off its MaterialScience plastics group into a separate, publicly-traded company within the next 12 to 18 months.    More

Image

Investor group wants DuPont to split in two

September 18, 2014 7:37 pm ET

Investment firm Trian Fund Management LP is calling for plastics and chemicals giant DuPont Co. to split itself into two firms, one of which would inc...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events