From Creation to Disposal: Why switching to polymer bottles may help protect the environment…And hospital budgets

New Study Illustrates Environmental Advantages of GE Healthcare’s Packaging

Princeton, NJ – November 24, 2014 – When clinicians use contrast imaging agents for X-ray and MRI procedures, they must deal with the storage, handling, and disposal of the packaging those agents come in. The use of traditional glass bottles has its challenges, as clinicians risk breakage and possible injuries, loss of product, clean-up needed upon breakage, as well as the cost of proper disposal after use.


GE Healthcare (NYSE:GE) announced today a study examining the environmental impact of its +PLUSPak™ (polymer bottle). The life cycle assessment (LCA) study compared the polymer bottle to traditional glass bottles, and found that the environmental benefits of the multipack configuration polymer bottle are superior to its glass counterpart’s.[1] Study results showed that polymer bottles can provide the following advantages including:


End-of-life disposal

Polymer bottles in the US are most likely to be treated as municipal waste versus glass bottles which must be disposed of in a sharps container followed by autoclaving and landfilling. The resources for disposing of the polymer bottle are less demanding.


Packaging and Transport

Sensitivity to air freight, secondary packaging, and lower mass of the polymer bottles all contribute to fewer carbon emissions.


“GE Healthcare is committed to providing top-of-the-line imaging agents for the best diagnostic image possible, and this includes our packaging,” said Jan Makela, GM, Core Imaging for GE Healthcare. “We’ve heard from our customers that glass breakage and ease of use and disposal are significant concerns for physicians in clinical settings. We are excited that the +PLUSPak bottle not only offers a solution to these challenges, but also the added benefit of a considerably lower environmental impact from manufacturing to disposal.”


Insights from this study may suggest cost implications for radiology departments, as switching from glass packaging to  GE Healthcare's innovative +PLUSPAK polymer bottle could reduce contrast media related red-bag waste costs by as much as 78%. 2 By switching one unit of glass to +PLUSPak, clinicians could save the CO2 emissions equivalent to driving 1 km in a car, or using a 60 watt equivalent LED bulb for 87 hours.[2]


About +PLUSPak

+PLUSPAK packaging dovetails with the GE's ecomagination criteria for improving workplace safety and convenience. +PLUSPAK packaging offers significant timesaving, cost-saving and environmental advantages over the glass packaging traditionally used to package contrast media. All GE Healthcare iodinated and MRI contrast media products are available in +PLUSPAK packaging.


About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services to meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare around the world.  GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter - great people and technologies taking on tough challenges. From medical imaging, software & IT, patient monitoring and diagnostics to drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance improvement solutions, GE Healthcare helps medical professionals deliver great healthcare to their patients.


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[1]Dhaliwal, H., M. Browne, W. Flanagan, L. Laurin, M. Hamilton (2014). "A life cycle assessment of packaging options for contrast media delivery: comparing polymer bottle vs. glass bottle." The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment: 1-9, DOI 10.1007/s11367-014-0795-1, available at