Big Pharma’s Going Sustainable!

by

Taylor Ford

Show them Love

August 3, 2021

I’ve honestly never really thought about the sustainability of medical devices.

These are products that people NEED to survive, so I just never really thought any of these companies would have sustainability in mind. Not until I read this review for NovoPen’s insulin pen.

Diabetes is on the rise, meaning the need for insulin pens is as well. Millions and millions of insulin pens are being produced and distributed every year. Considering the nature of the product, that also means millions and millions of pens are going into landfills every year.

Obviously, safety and efficacy MUST come first for any medical device, but for most all pharmaceutic companies, money comes second. And while I do believe this is the case for Novo Nordisk, I have to admit it is admirable to see a pharmaceutical company actually make an effort to be sustainable.

The plastic used in other brands of insulin pens cannot be recycled since it cannot be separated from the glass and metal components by machines standard in most recycling facilities. Novo Nordisk is tackling this issue by:

  1. Using plant-based plastic, which allows them to stray away from their reliance on fossil fuels.
  2. Creating a machine that separates this plastic from the glass and metal components so they can each be individually reused for other purposes.


Novo Nordisk is currently piloting a take-back program for used insulin pens so these new machines can actually be used and people can ensure that their used insulin pens are recycled correctly.

Now you may be wondering, what do they do with the recycled materials?

Novo Nordisk is collaborating with companies to use recycled plastic from their pens for office chairs and recycled glass to make lamps!

It’s exciting to see a pharmaceutical company so committed to a circular business model. It’s admirable to see such aggressive and ambitious goals towards sustainability, and I believe it really sets a precedent for other pharmaceutical companies to follow!

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