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 Packaging Medical Materials Materials Suppliers
Companies & Associations

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

TricorBraun opening three regional centers

April 27, 2015 11:23 am ET

TricorBraun is opening three new, expanded regional centers in the United States: two in California and one in Tennessee.    More

Image

Bemis Co. reports sales growth

April 24, 2015 9:57 am ET

Bemis Co. Inc., in what the company is describing as a strong quarter, saw consistent earnings from continuing operations.    More

Image

KHS cuts packaging with direct printing on PET bottles, adhesive multi-packs

April 23, 2015 1:39 pm ET

KHS GmbH has been pouring a lot of time into solving issues related to direct printing on PET bottles, and after eight years of work, everyone...    More

Image

MeadWestvaco joins the Recycling Partnership

April 23, 2015 11:19 am ET

MeadWestvaco Corp., a global packaging company with some operations in plastics, is joining the Recycling Partnership.    More

Image

Sidel, BMS reach agreement on spindle patent case

April 20, 2015 1:24 pm ET

Sidel Group and Blow Mold Services LLC have reached an agreement in Sidel's patent infringement lawsuit against BMS involving the spindle chain on a b...    More

Market Reports

North American Thermoformed Packaging Market Outlook & Review 2015

Our annual report provides a thorough review and analysis of economic and political conditions, emerging market trends, packaging design advances, materials pricing and sustainable packaging issues impacting supply and demand in the TP segment. Our analysts identify key drivers of growth and opportunities for processors to remain competitive in the years ahead through innovation, production efficiencies and more.

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

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events