While Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) still represents the primary material of catheters’ tubes, POBE, which is an abbreviation of polyolefin-based elastomer- is emerging as a more sustainable alternative. Studies show that catheters made from POBE have 33% lower environmental load when compared to polyurethane. As of 2009, Wellspect has been using POBE as primary material for its catheter tubes.
The health of our products' users always comes first. That's a given. But what if we maintain the same reliability and the clinical performance that our products are known for while also cutting down on our products environmental footprint? At Wellspect, we do just that! Our product and process development has a strong focus on sustainability and on the well-being of our users. We strive to create more sustainable products without compromising the reliability and the clinical performance that our products are known for. Here are some of the ways in which we achieve this:
Eco-labels are marks placed on product packaging that single out products that meet specific environmental performance criteria. The eco-labelling renders the products “environmentally preferable”. Back in 2021, Wellspect was awarded the Nordic Swan Ecolabel for its LoFric catheters (including LoFric Elle, LoFric Origo, LoFric Sense, LoFric Hydro-Kit and LoFric Primo).
The type and origin of the material used for packaging (paper, cardboard and plastic), can reduce the environmental footprint of any product. Sustainable packaging is a core area attended to by Wellspect. By the end of 2022, 68% of box packaging was made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified material and around 15% was made from recycled material.
By scrutinising energy sources such as electricity and water, manufacturers can contribute to more responsible production. A new catheter coating process introduced at Wellspect HealthCare at Wellspect main production site in Sweden, has seen to a 35% reduction of water usage.
Finding more sustainable raw material sources to produce medical plastic devices is a game changer. By replacing fossil raw materials with bio-based raw materials, we reduce the end products’ environmental footprint without jeopardising the product’s clinical performance. In 2023, Wellspect successfully introduced bio-based raw materials into one of its products; a female urinary catheter with the name LoFric Elle. In an industry that is heavily reliant on fossil based raw materials for its plastic, Wellspect's pilot can be a game changer.