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Circular business models

Resource efficient production

Circular value chains – Recycling insulin pens as input for chairs and lamps

1. February 2021

Solution provider

Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered just outside Copenhagen, Denmark.

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As a part of Novo Nordisk’s environmental strategy, the company focuses on how they can integrate green principles into the product development, and also works towards increasing the amount of plastic waste being recycled.

Even though Novo Nordisk strives to use environmentally friendly materials, an integral part of achieving its environmental goals is the ability to recycle insulin pens, as these consist of 77 per cent plastic which cannot be thrown into a regular recycling bin.

To be able to recycle the insulin pens, the company invented a machine making it possible to sort the pen’s many components, such as plastic and glass. Novo Nordisk then teamed up with a Danish design firm, so that the discarded plastic was used to make office chairs.

Furthermore, the glass from the discarded insulin vials has also been given a new lease of life after being melted down to create lamps. In this way Novo Nordisk aim to reduce the number of pens ending up in landfills and use resources in a more circular way.

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