Recently, sterilization packaging manufacturer Beacon Converters came up with a truly unique way to enlighten companies (particularly in the healthcare industry) of creative ways packaging waste may be recycled, reused, or repurposed instead of ending up in landfills. While it may sound strange, Beacon commissioned the use of discarded Tyvek to create a wedding gown!
According to Beacon sustainability officer and director of IT/marketing projects, Terri Shank, she was inspired after seeing the work of sustainable fashion artist Nancy Judd’s work. Ultimately, Beacon Converters is trying to enlighten others about finding other channels, such as recycling and recovery, for materials that often end up in landfills. When Shank saw Judd’s work, she felt it would be “an incredible educational vehicle to raise awareness of healthcare packaging waste and the ability of DuPont Tyvek material to be recycled or repurposed.”
Shank, along with Beacon VP director of sales & marketing, Kathleen Daly Mascolo, and Beacon President, Jackie Daly Johnson (also Shank’s sisters), arranged for discarded Tyvek to be transformed into a wedding dress that will be worn by Bella, a “bride” named after the sisters’ grandmother and included in a traveling exhibition of sustainable fashion designs in Judd’s collection, the Recycle Runway Collection.
In Beacon’s ‘Bella the Bride’ effort, the company hosted flower making workshops and invited healthcare industry and medical device manufacturers to join in the effort by creating flowers for a bouquet and the train for the wedding dress. Of course the flowers were created from discarded Tyvek. The flower making workshop took place from April 2- 6 in Anaheim at AORN’s Surgical Conference & Expo.
Johnson says that Beacon is “passing the bouquet,” and that the unique way they have presented the possibility of recovering and repurposing Tyvek is far more memorable than a slide in a presentation. According to the Packaging Digest article and Healthier Hospitals Initiative, in the course of a single day about 26 lbs. of waste is generated per staffed bed in hospitals. When engineers look at material recovery from a new perspective, we could see enormous waste reduction and change.
At REA JET, we know the importance of reducing waste and finding ways to recover and repurpose packaging from plastics. This was a very unique and creative idea from Beacon, and hopefully more companies in the healthcare industry will take notice and figure out how to repurpose much of their waste!
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