-Hana D’Amico

It is no secret that more and more companies continue to push toward sustainability, and some have become standouts within their industry. As society continues to value the goal of sustainability, leaders, companies, and enterprises will continue to champion this cause. The healthcare field and the medical packaging industry are no exceptions.

As noted by DuPont, creating sustainable healthcare packaging has additional considerations that other industries need not consider. Considering the impact on the environment as well as the lifecycle of the packaging allows for a push toward sustainability. However, companies packaging for healthcare and medical industries must also ensure that this effort to achieve sustainability does not compromise the integrity of the sterilization process. Companies must maintain high standards to achieve both goals by focusing on innovation and continuous improvement.

There are several ways in which companies are putting the focus on achieving more sustainable packaging for medical devices. When examining the sustainability of these products, companies are focusing on creating better package designs using materials that can reduce the environmental impact while maintaining high standards for sterilization. One stand out in the field is the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio According to PBS, the Cleveland Clinic has been “Part of the wider effort to make significant changes to hospital waste management systems.” The Cleveland Clinic began using steam-processing treatments ten years ago to support alternative strategies to tackle medical waste. In addition, senior-level management has been quoted mentioning their push for supply chain partners to package medical devices in a way that would allow for less waste as they continue to set and achieve their goals for a more sustainable healthcare system.

An extraordinary effort is being made by a group known as Kilmer innovations in Packaging (KiiP). This group was founded with the sole purpose of leading the march for innovative medical device packaging. It is evident by the group’s vision statement, “Improving patient outcomes and clinician delight through the science and engineering of sustainable packaging,” that they are passionate, motivated, and focused on pushing the medical packaging field forward and providing sustainability while “protecting patient safety and improving healthcare outcomes.” Founded by a group of eight highly invested individuals, KiiP has now grown to over 450 members on LinkedIn and has received numerous mentions from sources such as OR Today, AAMI, and MDDI.

According to Practice Greenhealth, “Hospitals generate over 29 pounds of waste per bed per day.” This astonishing number has grabbed the attention of many leaders in the medical field. As mentioned, many organizations within the healthcare field have been improving upon their sustainability programming for several years. Each year, Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in healthcare, awards healthcare organizations for their efforts to build sustainability into their operations. The recipient of the 2022 Emerald Award was Metro Health. As operators of four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers, the organization recognizes the profound impact it can have and chooses to implement innovative measures to reduce its environmental footprint.

The shift to sustainability within the healthcare and medical packaging industry has already taken off. If you have been waiting to make the jump, the time is now. Collaboration among industry leaders and the wealth of knowledge shared on the topic should be ample motivation to take the next step. Conduct the necessary research, join groups working toward these goals, and attend conferences and sessions aimed at industry collaboration focusing on sustainability with medical device packaging.

Tyvek® healthcare packaging: Advancing Sustainability. Dupont. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2022, from

Vinopal, C. (2019, February 8). How U.S. hospitals cleaned up their toxic trash. PBS. Retrieved September 17, 2022, from

Waste. Practice Greenhealth. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2022, from