A news story this week reported that scientists have improved the naturally occurring enzyme that can ‘eat’ plastic.

Good news, eh? Few people fail to be moved by the sight of the oceans brimming with waste. We all want to cut down on plastic and our use of it.

When you have diabetes, particularly type one, you use more plastic than most people. It wraps itself around individual pump components, it shields needles and it’s what lancets are made from. I hope the plastic-eating enzyme hurries up in its development so I’ll be able to chuck all that junk into a machine in my house.

The only figures I can find relate to general medical waste in the US. The market is expected to increase from $10.3 billion in 2015 to $13.3 billion in 2020. As rates of diabetes increase, that figure will only get higher.

I can’t find many specific tips to help us reduce the plastic we use for we diabetics, but here are some ideas I came up with…

  • Can you choose reusable pens, instead of disposable ones? This will depend on your insulin and what the manufacturers offer. Perhaps we should ask them to provide permanent devices if they don’t?
  • Recycle what you can—in my case, I throw the clean needle covers and empty test tube tubs into the recycling bins.
  • Nearby animal sanctuaries might be able to use old syringes to feed baby animals or give them meds. (Not sure about this one—check it out with your shelter.)
  • Small local businesses that do mail orders might take the polystyrene packing you get with any ordered supplies.
  • Finally, donate your old insulin and medical gear. If you have sealed, unopened packets of insulin, needles, lancets, infusion sets for pumps, unopened test strips and more, please give them a charity if you can. Insulin for Life works to distribute insulin and supplies to disadvantaged people. It operates in nine countries, including Germany, Australia, the UK and the US and distributes to 74 places.

Do you have imaginative ideas for what to do with diabetes-related medical waste? I’d love to know. Please feel free to comment.



8 thoughts on “”

    1. It’s always shocking how much of the food we buy is plastic-wrapped – even when you’re not buying ready meals. I’d love to live near one of those old-style health food shops where you could buy nuts, dry goods etc from big barrels.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have long believed that manufacturers use way to many items that create trash. Trash is somewhat unavoidable but we use way to much. Insulin for life is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not trying to be the devils advocate here but if they create an enzyme or bacteria that eats plastic would it be able to render long term packaging of food non-functioning? I know many bulk packages of food use individual plastic bags to keep each one fresh. I’m all for the recycling aspect of this. They can melt down and reuse most if not all plastics but if they make plastics less durable it may create more issues than it solves I see it as a people issue. Just pick up after yourself, don’t throw trash out the window of the car or out it in the trash for the curb. My sister has bags set up on the back porch for the different plastics and cans. Again its a good idea but are we simply trading one problem for another? A few extra minutes of sorting and recycling will add years to garbage dumps if everyone did it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree – there’s no one way to solve the issue. Cutting down on consumption in general can help, but manufacturers need to play their part by not overpackaging everything.


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