October 13, 2017 | Matthew B. Boyd

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Next Generation Disposable Medical Products


According to research, the demand for disposable medical supplies in the United States is expected to rise 4.2 percent each year, reaching $54.1 billion by the year 2020. Traditionally, the medical textile and medical nonwovens industry has been focused on quality, usability, and compliance to meet health and safety standards. However, in addition to growing demand is the increase in environmental concerns. It is no surprise then that the industry is experiencing an increased interest in cost-efficient “green” materials and processes.


The Sustainability of Single Use Medical Products

Several key studies recently compared the environmental impact of reusable products and disposable products showing that single-use disposable nonwoven products may actually cause less burden on the environment versus reusable products. While sustainability is a complicated issue, this appears to be promising for nonwoven medical product suppliers who focus on meeting these environmental challenges. This not only means creating eco-friendly products but also employing best practices during and around the sourcing and manufacturing processes that ensure environmental sustainability. Here are a few companies that are doing both. 


CliniMed: Aura Flushable

Aura Flushable represents the newest "green" generation of colostomy and stoma bags. In an effort to solve the issue of waste disposal, environmental sustainability, and patient ease of use, the company has sought to create the very first line of flushable stoma bags on the market. What makes the product innovative? The inner liner of the bag can be flushed with or without the flange. Both pieces are completely biodegradable and septic-friendly. Aura Flushable is also the first stoma bag manufacturer that uses medical grade Manuka honey. Research suggests that this may help promote skin integrity and tissue healing.

CliniMed states that they have procedures in place to minimize the environmental impact of all their processes. They have achieved full ISO certification for compliance and responsible manufacturing. 


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WPT Custom Nonwovens

Choosing the best binding agent is essential to nonwoven product development. WPT offers a variety of chemical and resin treatments which allows the company to customize their medical nonwovens to match the precise use. The process is unique from stock products in that they provide a wider range of characteristics. WPT Nonwovens offers a comprehensive selection of materials including environmentally-friendly options.


“We are incredibly excited to release our new brand Boyd Biomedical. This is an important step for us as we continue our growth in the medical device and life sciences markets. We’re looking forward to many more successful years commercializing breakthrough innovations under our new brand platform.”



A few of their eco-friendly nonwoven and fabric treatments include:

  • Anti-microbial/anti-bacterial
  • Hydrophobic
  • Biodegradable
  • Anti-static
  • Custom colors
  • Flame retardant
  • Hydrophilic


Biovation: BioArmour Wound Care

While not yet on the market, Biovation's BioArmour Advanced Wound Care product is both innovative and eco-friendly. To further the goal of providing innovative wound care solutions, Biovation is developing a line of nonwoven dressings that include a "gel-cast biopolymer matrix." The gel-cast biopolymer wound covering will have the capability to deliver antimicrobial and infection control properties. Unlike similar products, these are promised to have full bio-compatibility. This, the company says will result in a superior quality absorbent dressing composed of fibers and materials that have a low eco-burden. Several of the key benefits include:

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Comfort
  • Ease of use
  • Unique nonwoven material doesn't disintegrate during use, when cut and remains intact when removed
  • Available by the roll
  • Can be cut to size
  • The product is sustainable and "green"



The manufacturing of disposable nonwoven medical products does have a significant environmental impact. This is due in part to the materials used but also to the production process, and the other resources used to make, package, and transport them. Manufacturers seeking to innovate in this area can position themselves to capture the most value from the natural resources, providing value and quality, and improving user experience all the while seeking to limit their company's eco-burden. Interest in this area of nonwoven medical products will likely continue to grow and therefore represents a significant opportunity to scale for other innovative companies that can fill this niche.


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