It’s no secret: designing and developing a product takes time. First, there’s the meeting of the minds – coming together to share and sketch ideas. Then, there’s an important question: “will the idea actually work in the wild?” If prototypes prove the answer is “yes,” there’s production. And, of course, packaging.
Packaging is, perhaps, the unsung hero of product design and development. But it presents myriad opportunities to get creative – especially when it comes to sustainability. Packaging is part of the greater product ecosystem, and it invites us to rethink the way we manufacture, choose materials, and more.
3M has made a long-standing commitment to efficient paper and packaging use. In the 3M 2016 Sustainability Report (PDF, 11.5 MB), the company reported a cumulative reduction of approximately 9,000 metric tons (mT) of paper and packaging in the preceding seven years.
The 3M™ Tegaderm™ Transparent Film team was tasked with creating a more sustainable packaging solution, and when asked if they were up for the challenge, the answer was clear: yes. Of course, medical dressings should always help heal wounds, provide an environment for healing, secure IVs, and minimize patient pain upon removal. But through thoughtful design – the dressings themselves can also help minimize waste.
An innovative process nests the pouches used for each sterile dressing to reduce the amount of materials needed by 30 percent. The seal adhesive for the pouch is made without natural rubber latex, and the carton used for the box packaging is made from 100 percent recycled content with at least 35 percent post-consumer recycled content.
In yet another vote for a more sustainable future, the Instructions for Use (IFU) booklet was removed from 3M™ Tegaderm™ Transparent Film Dressing Boxes in the U.S. The contents of the IFU were printed on the primary carton and can also be found online (PDF, 431 KB).
At 3M, we strive to continually improve what we do. We are proud to put our innovation to use not only on smart product designs but also on solutions for a greener planet.
Here’s to using our creativity for good.