Nolato MediTor’s breathing bags are green – they have always been. News: they have become even greener. “Over the years we have manufactured millions of breathing bags,” says Anders Ekberg, President of MediTor. “Sooner or later, they turn up in hospital waste management systems, so we began to consider how a more environmentally friendly product could look like. As for health concerns, we were ahead of the curve by making our bags latex-free to prevent allergies to medical staff.”
“It’s always a challenge to make changes to medical devices. Patient safety is on the top of our agenda. Our products are carefully specified by customers and by different standards. It is therefore important to be able to justify any change to production methods,” says Ekberg.
Environment and economy go hand in hand
Breath blowing is mainly used for anaesthesia during the sedation of patients before surgery. In practice, medical staff use a facemask that fits tightly over the mouth and nose, or a tube that is inserted into the throat so that air, oxygen or anaesthesia gas can be vented manually via the ventilation bag to the patient.
“Our breathing bags are available in sizes between 0.5 to 3 litres, fitted with different types of connectors to fit different devices. Some are intended for single use and others can be reused several times,” says Ekberg.
“The bags are made of synthetic rubber. When we considered environmental improvements we focused both on the material in the bladder and the connections. An important feature for our customers and the users are the “rubber feel” of the product.”
“Economic considerations were also important given the high material costs of these products, “continues Ekberg. “We therefore initiated a project where the environment, ease of use and economy go hand in hand.”
Breathing bags are produced by dipping them in a liquid synthetic rubber, or latex. The challenge for Nolato MediTor was to keep a rubber feel, while reducing the rubber polymer. The manufacturing recipe was modified by increasing environmentally-friendly fillers, and the result was a cheaper and “greener” product.
Since the rubber polymer is fossil fuel-based it produces less material consumption and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. Users of the breathing bag notice no difference in the product’s performance, but when the bag is tossed into the garbage there is less synthetic rubber that ends up in landfills.
“Before, we used synthetic rubber, but now it’s recyclable polypropylene (PP) or thermoplastics (TPE). Of course, there are environmental improvements to be made in the medical industry,” concludes Ekberg.
The article was published in October 2012