Sustainable Packaging Lab again demonstrates Medline’s leadership in melding product innovation with sustainable design
NORTHFIELD, Ill., Dec. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Medline today announced it is a winner of the 2021 Sustainability, Environmental Achievement, and Leadership Business Sustainability Award in the category of environmental initiatives for its Sustainable Packaging Lab (SPL), an innovative cross-functional group of Medline employees who combine their unique skills to reduce material use and waste in the company’s product packaging. The annual SEAL Awards recognize the 50 most sustainable companies in the world and the most impactful and innovative environmental initiatives.
“Winning a SEAL Business Sustainability Award for environmental initiatives is an exciting recognition of Medline’s commitment to leadership and transparency in the development of our products, which are essential to supporting a healthy and vibrant healthcare ecosystem across the continuum of care,” said Francesca Olivier, senior director of social responsibility at Medline. “Our Sustainable Packaging Lab is having an impact as our organization expands its focus on environmental, social, and governance issues that drive change in our industry and business as a whole.”
SEAL Awards is an environmental advocacy organization that shines a light on leadership in business sustainability and environmental journalism – honoring the world’s most sustainable companies and leading journalism organizations. The organization also supports environmental research while pursuing environmental impact campaigns.
Making healthcare more sustainable is a key component in achieving Medline’s goal of helping healthcare run better. According to a recent study titled “Recycling of medical plastics,” close to 200 million personal protective products like masks, gowns, goggles, and gloves are used each month due to the pandemic, adding to the existing burden of 16.6 tons per day of medical waste generated in Asia and 5.9 million tons of waste generated in the U.S. per year. Additionally, existing recycling systems are unable to deal with much of the packaging in use today, with only 16% of all plastic waste being re-processed into new plastics and nearly half send to landfills.
To help drive change to eliminate healthcare waste, Medline’s SPL is finding new ways to package products. Launched in fall 2020, the SPL brings together leaders from the company’s research and development (R&D), sustainability design experts, and engineers to reimagine how products are packaged. Together they identify solutions that improve packaging materials, promote minimalism, increase efficiency, and facilitate the creation of new product innovations through the systematic integration of recycled or renewable material into the company’s packaging materials.
“Our collection of sustainable packaging concepts is minimizing our impact on the environment while innovating the way we store product in our facilities, the amount of product that can be housed per branch, and our ability to deliver product on time,” said Trenton Bortz, sustainability specialist at Medline. “In one year we have saved over 850,000 pounds of packaging waste while also saving on cost, showing that sustainability is not only beneficial to the environment but also our business.”
The SPL started with an overhaul of the company’s cold chain packaging, resulting in the development of a fully recyclable cold chain shipper that helped avoid 315,000 lbs of raw material annually. Next, the SPL found success innovating how Medline’s distribution centers stored product by converting to chipboard pallet sheets that avoided the use of 46,000 lbs of raw material while optimizing warehouse square footage. Since these early successes, Medline’s SPL has continued to find innovative solutions to meet the company’s needs by:
Redesigning products to fit more product and packaging in a smaller space, thereby reducing total packaging and shipping required
Offering SKU consolidation services to customers to take up less space on a shelf and in the warehouse
Eliminating polystyrene in our facilities
Replacing plastic bottles with dissolvable materials to reduce waste generated
Learn more about how Medline’s sustainability programs are making a difference in the communities where we live and work by visiting us here.
Medline is a healthcare company: a manufacturer, distributor and solutions provider focused on improving the overall operating performance of healthcare. Medline works with both the country’s largest healthcare systems and independent facilities across the continuum of care to provide the clinical and supply chain resources required for long-term financial viability in delivering high quality care. With the size of one of the country’s largest companies and the agility of a family-owned business, Medline is able to invest in its customers for the long-term and rapidly respond with customized solutions. Headquartered in Northfield, Ill., Medline has 27,000+ employees worldwide, a fleet of nearly, 1,200 trucks and does business in more than 125 countries and territories. Learn more about Medline at www.medline.com.
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