Top 10 sustainable healthcare inventions

Philips, Siemens, the NHS, Wuka, ModiBodi, Wild deodorant and more are shaking up the healthcare sector with sustainable inventions & medical devices

10. Wild deodorant

Landfill stinks - but so do humans. The ocean and landfill sites across the world contain discarded deodorant bottles, which will remain on earth for years to come after their single use. 

Wild deodorant has a solution which smells good: a reusable aluminium deodorant applicator and recyclable bamboo pulp deodorant refills, in scents like Elderflower and Cucumber as well as Sandalwood and Patchouli.

9. Period pants

Women and girls need to feel safe and comfortable on their periods, but single-use sanitary items are not great for the planet, as menstrual pads can contain up to 90% plastic. 

Washable period pants, from companies such as Wuka and Modi Bodi, are made from breathable, sustainable fabric which can absorb blood and then be washed after use and worn again and again.

8. The IUD


In the era of climate change hysteria, some are not having children out of fear of the environment they will inherit. 

The IUD is the most sustainable form of contraception. A month’s worth of contraceptive pills comes in a month-long plastic-tab, while one plastic-wrapped IUD will last for up to 12 years and unlike condoms, the IUD is not single-use.

7. Placental growth factor (PLGF) testing

The blood test placental growth factor (PLGF) helps to identify pre-eclampsia. New tests endorsed by the NHS are more accurate and will minimise the number of hospital visits by pregnant women. The NHS estimates that PlGF tests will save up to 1,149 tonnes CO2e, each year.

6. Washable nappies

Newborn babies get through up to eight nappies each day. Every nappy contains 30% plastic and will take an estimated 500 years to break down into microplastics, which will go on to poison water and soil. Washable nappies from companies such as ModiBodi are clean, comfortable and will work out cheaper in the long-run.

5. Menstrual cup

If the IUD is not for you, the flexible, funnel-shaped menstrual cup can be used in the place of a tampon, to collect period blood and be emptied at the end of the day, then washed and reused. 

A theme for this list seems to be everyday single-use items, transformed into long-lasting healthcare staples.

4. Siemens’ Somatom Definition Flash CT scanner

Yet a stronger element within healthcare innovations is found through embracing new, energy-saving technology.

Siemens Healthcare’s EHS (Environment, Health & Safety) management system has made way for this with the Somatom Definition Flash CT scanner, which needs just a fraction of the radiation that systems needed before and uses 45% less energy than the previous model.

3. MammoDiagnost DR

The MammoDiagnost DR digital radiography system supports hospitals (especially in rural communities) by meeting workflow challenges with more efficient screening.

Compared to the previously used equipment, the environmental benefits of the MammoDiagnost DR digital radiography system include 46% less energy used, 11% less packaging and a 20% radiation dose reduction.

2. Virtual treatments ​​​​​​​

Greener NHS, NHS Digital and NHSX have teamed up to ensure that the carbon footprint caused by new digital infrastructure is as low as possible for the UK’s the single biggest employer.

One innovation which was fast tracked by COVID-19 is virtual treatment, which has sustainable benefits such as lower local air pollution, time saved for the workforce to use in other ways and alternative uses for spaces such as waiting rooms.

1. Digitisation at Philips

Ranked by Boston Consulting Group as the #1 medtech company in its 2020 ‘Top 50 most innovative companies’, Philips has come a long way from toothbrushes - and it has a long way to go. 

“We believe that digitalisation can accelerate the adoption of much-needed sustainable models of healthcare, including wider access to care by enabling underserved communities to 'leapfrog' the gap in provision of primary services,” said Robert Metzke, Philips Global Head of Sustainability.


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