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We are Sorry We Followed.

August 11, 2015 No comments

Our Small Change in Packaging for a Big Impact on the Environment

Dear Friends of MDF,

Like most other industries, packaging plays a crucial role in perceived quality. In our industry specifically, high-end stethoscopes are almost always encased in aesthetically pleasing black packaging foam. The luxurious black foam backdrop instantly makes the nestled stethoscope seem even more “expensive.”

It’s an industry standard.

We were so used to seeing our stethoscopes elegantly displayed in its boxes, that we never gave a second thought to the true impact of what perceived luxury would cost the environment.

People may think that we are overreacting and that it is simply a box lined with foam, but it is not just one box. It’s thousands of boxes lined with foam, stored in warehouses and along shelves. Because of our “throwaway culture”, football stadium- sized amounts of foam will inevitably end up in our landfill each year – from just one stethoscope company alone. When we came to this realization, we were rocked to our core.

As you know, once the foam settles in the landfill, it takes 500 years to decompose. But did you know that foam accounts for 25%-30% of our landfill? And for the foam that does not make it to the landfill, it accounts for a large portion of the marine and urban debris that will not decompose, but break into small pieces that choke, starve, and kill animals and fish that ingest and clog their respiratory and digestive systems.

By eliminating the unnecessary use of foam and shifting our packaging to more earth-friendly, post-consumer recyclable materials, we also decrease our dependency on oil. Foam is a petroleum-based product and is also known to be one of the largest producers of hazardous waste during its production. By reducing the use of foam we also reduce HCFC’s and CFC’s, produced in the production of foam, that break down our Ozone.

So why was foam used in the first place? It sounds almost silly to store stethoscopes on comfy couches of foam and in temperature-controlled, soundproof boxes. Foam does serve its purpose and may be the cheapest and most convenient material for certain applications, but it is not as if stethoscopes are extremely delicate, requiring tremendous protection or storage at a particular temperature. WE simply did what everybody else was doing. We followed. We regret our mindless following and for the sake of Mother Nature, urge not only stethoscope manufacturers, but all manufacturers to rethink their packaging and eliminate the use of foam for the sole purpose of aesthetics.

Because of the irreparable damage foam causes the environment, we have made the conscious decision to discontinue the use of foam in our packaging. We know our packaging may not look as luxurious to some, but we are confident that customers will recognize quality from our stethoscopes alone. For the business we may lose with the change of packaging, it is the business we accept and sacrifice for the sake of Mother Nature.

We are not claiming that we are the shining example of an environmentally responsible company by any means, because there is so much more we can do. Someone once said, “Yes, we are hypocrites, but we all can be the hypocrites who are doing something about it, than hypocrites doing nothing at all.” Because change needs to happen and it needs start somewhere, we are eager to begin.

P.S. We were inspired by the film http://thelittlethingsmovie.net/ and we urge you to change “the little things” in your life that can mean a great deal for Mother Earth.

Crafting Wellness,

The MDF Instruments Team

Let us know what you think! We can all collectively take steps to make a difference. What are some small steps you can take today to make a big impact?

Posted in: blog