Replace disposable blue wraps with rigid reusable sterilization containers


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

12. Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns

UN SDG Target


Target Description

By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment


While blue wrap can be recycled, it cannot be reused in the medical space due to its critical purpose in keeping equipment sterilized, limiting the financial windfall for hospitals and recyclers in reprocessing blue wrap.

• Assess the total life cycle cost of equipment, in this case, blue wrap (purchase cost, deployment cost, operating cost, disposal cost).

• Evaluate the impact of the equipment on the business; the healthcare industry has a high barrier to entry due to safety and many other complex policies

• Identify the frequency of usage and compare it to the alternative; can the replacement outperform your current product.

• Evaluate the costs and best fit, sourcing from different suppliers.

• Evaluate the benefit and impact of the whole device lifespan and safety of this new sterilization option - source product with a longer lifespan and better quality.

Opportunity Identification 

Converting from disposable wrap to reusable sterilization containers is an enormous opportunity for savings in all the following: inventory reduction, decrease in repair and replacement of surgical devices, reduced labor, reduced consumables, energy, and waste disposal reductions as well as increasing hospital efficiencies and OR turnaround time.

20% of Hospital waste consists of the blue wrap. By replacing the blue wrap with Rigid reusable containers, reduces the overall waste drastically. Additionally, rigid reusable containers reduce unnecessary reprocessing, net waste, water consumption, and energy.

Strategy Build & Execution

• Align with your purchasing team to switch from blue wrap to containers and develop a budget for product needs (volume and budget for purchases).

• Prepare an RFQ with the potential and current supplier to see if they have reusable sterilization containers and the appropriate certifications and specifications for their product. Is there an opportunity to procure supplies locally or diversify your suppliers? Consider purchasing in bulk to maximize leverage.

• Create a proposal for procedure change on the decision criteria for purchasing, which includes
a) requesting suppliers for visibility into their certifications and green initiatives to ensure environmental manufacturing processes,
b) and including performance standards in technical RFPs.

• Get alignment with internal stakeholders and other stakeholders/decision-makers to board this proposal.

• Execute new procedure change in purchasing and track value creation.

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

• Negotiate with suppliers on value-added components in their service, including shipping and handling and recycling.

• Ask the supplier for visibility into material reporting. If commercially feasible, consider negotiating the downstream, product end of life recuperation program with the supplier. Depending on the OEM or reseller, they might derive value in receiving the product at its end of life.

• Include quality assurance and warranty clauses in the contract to ensure an extended higher quality of the product.

• Include contract supplier performance metrics where applicable.

Supplier Performance & Management

• Perform annual Supplier Relationship Review and sustainability reporting in annual reviews. Maintain records of turnaround time, equipment quality, purchasing and warehousing cost, average inventory level, and inventory variations.

• Perform Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis: analysis should consider the decontamination and washing impact of the number of rigid sterilization sets within a certain timeframe.

• Return on Investment is based on the:
a) Average number of uses usage per set per week or month.
b) Instrument protection: calculate the costs for repair and replacement of delicate instruments and the savings to be obtained when instruments are protected in sealed container systems with protective inserts.
c) Universal attributes: costs associated with the need for duplicate inventory when the container is not standardized.

Resource Links

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