The first priority for manufacturers of healthcare products is to ensure they are safe for users. However, as awareness grows regarding the negative impact of our use of resources on the environment, the healthcare industry is now also looking into more sustainable options – without compromising safety. This trend is expected to become more important and could even be included in guidelines and regulations in the future. Choosing different materials can help reduce the carbon footprint of manufactured products. Plastics, due to their durability and versatility, are a material of choice for various healthcare products, such as pharmaceutical bottles and vials, drug delivery devices, monitoring devices, surgical instruments, or labware. And now these products can be made more sustainable by switching to polymers based on renewable materials instead of fossil fuel-based polymers.
The choice of polymer is mainly dictated by the technical requirements of the application. For these reasons, medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging products are typically made with standard polymers (e.g., polyolefins, polyesters) and engineering plastics (e.g., polycarbonate, ABS, POM, PBT). Some polymer grades on the plastic market are already manufactured using renewable sources such as corn, sugar cane, and vegetable oil. However, until recently, these bio-based polymers were used in packaging and consumer plastic products, and most were not assessed for compliance with healthcare regulations. This is changing. Now that resin producers are offering bio-based polyolefins and other polymers pre-tested to healthcare standards, the healthcare industry can start switching to bio-based polymers and bio-based polymer solutions to help reduce the carbon footprint and increase the sustainability of their plastic parts.
Avient recently launched Mevopur™ Healthcare Bio-based Polymer Solutions, which are color and performance-enhancing additive solutions formulated with bio-based polymers for healthcare applications. They are drop-in solutions that can be used just like fossil fuel-based polymer solutions during the injection molding, blow molding or extrusion process. These color and additive solutions are available as concentrates or ready-to-use pre-colored formulations in bio-based polypropylene, polyethylene, polycarbonate, styrenic resins and ABS. The bio-based content of the polymer can be between 70% and 100% depending on the polymer grade. As concentrates, the color and additive polymer solutions are incorporated into the virgin polymer at a specific ratio (a.k.a. let-down ratio). As pre-colored formulations, they already contain the right amount of colorant and/or additive and can be used as such without dilution. Our team of healthcare experts can provide guidance on which form is more suitable for the project. Like all Mevopur products, Mevopur Healthcare Bio-based Polymer Solutions use raw materials pre-tested to ISO 10993-1, USP <87> and <88>, EP 3.1.3 / 3.1.5 (polyolefin packaging materials), USP <661.1> (polyethylene) and ICH Q3D (elemental impurities). Documented change control beyond CAS number and Registered Drug Master File (DMF)/Device Master File (MAF) documentation are common practices for the Mevopur portfolio. Detailed regulatory information is available from your Avient contact.