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What is the environmental impact of my insulin pen?

With an increased awareness in environmental challenges such as global warming, plastic waste and water scarcity, you may wonder: What is the environmental impact of my insulin pen?

For the past 25 years, Novo Nordisk has looked at the environmental impact of our products at all stages of its life cycle. This has helped us understand a product’s carbon footprint, or the sum of all emissions across a product’s life. Our ambition for our company and our products (including your insulin pen) is to have zero environmental impact. With this in mind, we are transitioning to more sustainable practices to make our ambition a reality.

From biodegradable to bio-based plastic

It all starts with the plastic that makes up our pens. We previously focused on using biodegradable plastics that dissolve when they become waste. However, looking at our products’ life cycle has taught us that such plastics are not necessarily biodegradable in a landfill or in nature, but only when put into industrial composting plants. We also found that biodegradable plastics may not be the right solution when we consider recycling pens.

Because we want our product components to be recycled and reused, we are moving from using biodegradable to high quality, bio-based plastics. We are also looking for more sustainable raw materials from natural sources (such as wood, plants or crops) as opposed to traditionally-produced plastics made from oil and gas. Research is currently being done for how to best use such bio-based materials in our products.

Circular for zero

Just as we have transitioned from biodegradable plastics, we are also moving away from ‘take, make and dispose’ – a process where you buy raw materials, turn them into products and dump the waste that has been abandoned.

As part of our ambition of zero waste, we have adopted a mindset of designing products that can be recycled or reused into new products. This has resulted in changes to our business practices to minimize consumption and eliminate waste, along with suppliers that share our vision. We know that our ambition is bold, but we are determined to forge them into workable policies.

Our ambition also extends to making sure that all emissions – whatever comes out of our chimneys, factories and plants – do not pollute the local environment. While we have always taken pollution very seriously, we are even more focused on a radical cut in our CO2 emissions.

Our responsibility to you

As we improve our environmental practices, our priority is and will continue to be you. We have taken the responsibility to reduce the impact of our products and are working to make sure they are as environmentally-friendly as technology allows. We hope this enables you to focus your energy on your health and staying in control. After all, when you’re in good control, you also reduce your environmental impact of your whole treatment.

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