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

Ferro sells another piece of its plastics business

December 19, 2014 3:33 pm ET

Ferro Corp. has sold its North American polymer additives business to a private equity firm for $154 million in cash.    More

Image

Antimicrobial polymers firm TiFiber launching pilot production in Ark.

December 19, 2014 10:58 am ET

TiFiber Inc., which makes synthetic compounds to control dangerous microorganisms, will locate a pilot production facility and its future company...    More

Image

Patel named LyondellBasell CEO

December 19, 2014 9:56 am ET

Bhavesh V. “Bob” Patel has been named CEO of Houston-based polyolefins producer LyondellBasell Industries NV, effective Jan. 12.    More

Image

Momentive to get a new name in January

December 19, 2014 9:45 am ET

Momentive Specialty Chemicals Inc. will change its name to Hexion Inc., effective Jan. 15.    More

Image

Thailand's SCG Chemicals buying Norwegian chemical firm Norner

December 19, 2014 9:11 am ET

Thailand's SCG Chemicals Co. Ltd. has announced it has acquired 51 percent of the shares in the independent petrochemical company Norner Holding AS fr...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events