Novel use of recycled hospital waste plastic in design of medical device wins major sustainability award

A product designed to both save the NHS money and help save the planet has been recognised with a leading national industry accolade.

Shield – a simple and low-cost redesign of the urinary drainage bags and frames used for catheters – has been recognised by Red Dot in the Sustainability category of the Red Dot Concept Awards.

Designed by Cardiff Metropolitan University spin-out business PDR, Shield utilises recycled single-use disposable plastic sterilisation tray wraps and drapes commonly used in hospital operating theatres and otherwise put into landfill.

Its sustainability was a crucial part of the design; recycled hospital waste material provided free by hospitals trusts creates a highly functional material at very little additional energy consumption and cost.

In doing so, it offers a discreet, stable and secure product for patients and addresses issues that greatly affect patients’ wellbeing, but which are outside the typical interests of the private sector.

Commenting on the win, Ben Nolan, PDR Associate Director, Design, said: “PDR are delighted to have won both a Red Dot Concept and IDEA Bronze award for our Shield concept. We only enter the most prestigious and stringently judged design awards so it’s always an honour to win, you only need to look over the other winners of either award to see that we sit amongst esteemed company.

“The shield concept looks to solve a real-world problem of hospital waste, we spotted an opportunity to utilise a recycled material that the hospital is able to produce from used surgical gowns and single use trays etc. This product suits the properties of the recycled material perfectly and is a great way to repurpose the waste material into a product that has a genuine positive impact on patients.”

The win comes on the back of another recent accolade for the same product, after Shield scooped a Bronze award at the prestigious IDEA awards. The International Design Excellence Awards are held annually by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and recognise pioneering achievements globally in the field of design.

PDR is a design and innovation research institution set up by Cardiff Metropolitan University in 1994, which pioneers sustainable product design. It has developed a worldwide reputation based on its ability to develop new knowledge in product design and development, and to apply and transfer such knowledge within both academia and industry.