Omnipod eco-friendly disposalYesterday Insulets, makers of the OmniPod insulin pump, announced a disposal program. To my knowledge they are the first diabetes product maker that's working to reduce the waste we all deal with to some extent, and they deserve a lot of kudos for it.
I spoke with Kevin Schmid, Insulet’s VP of Engineering, about how this works. Each OmniPod has a 357 watch battery, and usually uses up most of the charge so they cannot be reused in any way. In this disposal program the batteries are removed and recycled appropriately.
It's hard to recycle much of the OmniPod because they contain leftover insulin and have been worn, so they're 'contaminated'. This disposal program grinds up the remains of the OmniPod bodies, which substantially reduces the amount of space they occupy in a landfill.
Starting next month customers will get a disposal kit with their shipped OmniPods. They can return a months worth of used OmniPods for about $3. Insulet has also provided a set of answers to possible questions about their program.
Now I know some of you reading this will see all the reasons why this is not a perfect approach. But it's the first step towards making more of the items we use recyclable or easier to dispose of safely. Kevin told me that Insulet will be looking for ways to make this even more eco-friendly in the future.
There are a lot of us who wish living with diabetes didn't have such a big carbon footprint. Take a look at some of the photos in the Diabetes365 project that have been tagged with trash to see the stuff we collect.
I just hope that other diabetes suppliers will sit up and take notice of this important first step by Insulet. I know this will let me look more closely at the OmniPod system when I'm getting my next insulin pump.
Attribution: The photo above was taken by Kate Lilly and is one of many excellent photos on the Diabetes365 project site. She kindly let me use it in this post and retains all rights to this image.