Innovative Programs Reduce Environmental Impacts Citizenship

Demonstrating a shared commitment to environmental sustainability, Medtronic and Covidien each bring innovative recycling and reuse programs, including the two examples shown below.


Many Medtronic implantable devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators, contain metals like gold, silver palladium, and platinum. In the past, Medtronic typically incinerated these products at a cost. However, realizing that these metals are desirable and could be recycled rather than incinerated, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) staff and employees in our Minneapolis, MN facility launched a precious metal reclamation project.

Over the course of 12 months, this pilot program diverted more than five metric tonnes of regulated waste from incineration. Along with saving money on incineration costs, the program delivered a precious metal recovery return of nearly $150,000. Over the next ten years, as the company continues to expand this program, we anticipate our efforts will bring in revenue of more than $700,000 and significantly minimize related waste.


Two Covidien manufacturing plants discovered a creative way to use waste from one facility as a raw material at another. The plants, in Greenwood, SC and Crystal Lake, IL, make absorbent hygiene products and sharps containers for the safe handling and disposal of used needles, respectively.

Through a cross-functional and cross-divisional effort, the Crystal Lake plant was able to recycle plastic waste from a hygiene product made at the Greenwood plant into pellets and modify its blending process so that the recycled content could replace a virgin resin in the manufacture of regulated medical device-grade containers. Use of the recycled plastic resulted in an annual savings of seven million gallons of oil previously used to manufacture the virgin resin, as well as an estimated 100 tons of solid waste generated during its production.