US – US-based medical technology company Ethicon, owned by Johnson & Johnson, has announced that it will use Eastman’s Renew co-polyester for its sterile barrier packaging.

Under the agreement, Ethicon will use Eastar Renew 6763 co-polyester, powered by Eastman’s molecular recycling technologies.

This will make it the first healthcare company to use medical-grade Eastman Renew materials in its product packaging.

In a statement, Eastman said: “This is an important first step toward achieving circularity for healthcare packaging.

“Strategic collaborations like this will help drive change in the industry, leveraging molecular recycling to increase recycling rates and catalyze a circular economy for healthcare.”

Eastar Renew 6763 is claimed to offer comparable performance, safety and durability to the Eastar 6763 co-polyester.

The only difference between the two products is that by sourcing Eastar Renew, companies can certify that plastic waste is being diverted from landfills to create new packaging.

Ethicon‘s deal with Eastman aims to divert an equivalent volume of waste to 25% of the weight of all the packaging it generates, with the potential to increase this to 50% by the end of next year.

This sustainability goal is supported by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) PLUS certification, which Ethicon has received.

Eastman plastics division president Scott Ballard said: “The companies worked closely to chart a path toward creating a more circular future for packaging of medical devices, driving landfill diversion and reducing carbon emissions.

“With our molecular recycling technologies, we can improve the sustainability of products that have been the hallmark of safety and performance in healthcare for decades.”

Mechanically recycled materials cannot be used in healthcare applications because of stringent purity and transparency requirements.

By contrast, Eastman’s advanced recycling technology breaks down waste to its molecular building blocks, which the company says are indistinguishable from virgin materials and can be reused in high-performance polymers suitable for the medical industry.

Since these technologies source plastic waste as feedstock, they leave fossil resources in the ground and result in lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Earlier this year, Eastman and French President Emmanuel Macron announced a US$1 billion investment in a molecular recycling facility in France.

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