Sustainability in Health Care
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Sustainability in Health Care

  • In the Health Care Business, 3M is working to make our manufacturing processes and internal operations more sustainable, reduce the amount of packaging we use, and create products that can help our customers solve their sustainability challenges.


  • You may be surprised to learn that hospitals face many sustainability challenges. For example, in the United States:

    • Hospitals generate 4.7 million tons of waste each year (source=Practice Greenhealth 1/4/17 Press Release)
    • The median hospital water consumption is 315 gallons of water per bed per day for those hospitals using the EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool. This makes hospitals one of the most water intensive facilities.
    • Hospitals use many chemicals of concern
    • Hospitals also use a significant amount of energy

Oral Care

  • Dental and orthodontic practices also have opportunities to operate more sustainably. For example, digital technologies can generate many sustainability benefits:

    • Electronic records can reduce the amount of paper used
    • Digital imaging/x-rays can reduce the use of lead foils and fixing chemicals
    • Digital technologies can mitigate the need for impressions

    Proper disposal of mercury-containing silver fillings is a second sustainability opportunity for dentists. Finally, recycling, LED operatory lighting, use of green cleaning chemicals, and use of ENERGY STAR rated equipment can also contribute. Clearly, there are many ways to “be green” in oral care.

Medical Sustainability Stories

  • Trust in proven protection.

    You can count on 3M™ Cavilon™ Durable Barrier Cream to help prevent breakdown and promote skin health in patients at risk for skin damage.

  • Reinventing surgical drapes.

    What if we could lessen our dependence on fossil fuels by making more products from plant-based raw materials? That’s exactly what 3M scientists did with the new 3M™ Steri-Drape™ Surgical Drape.

  • Reduce the risk of SSI.

    Studies prove clinical efficacy in reducing the risk of surgical site infection with skin & nasal antiseptic. 3M™ Skin and Nasal Antiseptic also solves the patient compliance challenge-it’s quick to apply, effective in 1 hr & persists for 12 hrs.1

  • Reducing readmissions in Minnesota.

    3M software was used in a collaborative effort to reduce hospital readmissions in the state of Minnesota. This program resulted in patients in Minnesota spending 24,844 more night sleeping comfortably at home, instead of the hospital.

Oral Care Sustainability Stories

Food Safety Sustainability Stories

Packaging & Manufacturing Sustainability Stories

  • Accolades for VOC reduction.

    3M’s Critical and Chronic Care Solutions team was recognized by the 3M Pollution Prevention Pays program for their innovative solution to switch to a solvent free adhesive for a medical tape resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Brookings water conservation.

    Our engineers in Brookings, South Dakota devised an innovative system that cut water consumption by over 90%. The water savings is enough to supply about 164 homes each year.

  • 3M™ Steri-Vac™ Sterilizer/Aerator - GS Series service app.

    The 3M™ Steri-Vac™ GS Series service app improves ease of product use and reduces the environmental impact. The app annually saves over 100 pounds of paper, 2 million BTUs of energy, 1,320 gallons of water, and 23.65 metric tons of CO2 emissions.1,2

  • Efficient packaging for your favorite dressing.

    3M™ Tegaderm™ Dressings are now packed using an innovative nested design that reduces pouch material by 30% compared to rectangular packaging.  The carton is made of 100% recycled materials, of which at least 35% is post-consumer recycled content.

Social Sustainability Stories

  • A celebration of breath, voice, and hope.

    With the American Lung Association, 3M sponsored the Minneapolis Oxygen Ball. $140,000 was raised for local programs to inform and treat those affected with lung diseases such as asthma and COPD.

  • An ounce of dental prevention worth a pound of cure.

    3M has pledged to donate dollars and Vanish™ 5% Sodium Fluoride White Varnish to America’s Tooth Fairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation®, to support preventive services and treatment for vulnerable young people.   

  • Improving every life.

    Whether to help in response to pandemics, earthquakes, tsunamis or ongoing medical relief efforts around the world, 3Mgives has donated more than $23 million of medical products via Project HOPE and MAP International in the past five years.

  • Never stop learning.

    3M offers educational content to health care professionals in formats to suit any learning style. Each year ~500,000 health care professionals are trained at 3MSM Health Care Academy live events and webinars, and 100,000 receive education online.

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