Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in MedTech


Healthcare Global GHG emissions

and MedTech is responsible for a significant portion of that

What is Life Cycle Assessment and why is important?

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) represents one of the most comprehensive tools for environmental impact assessment and is powerful in supporting management processes within organizations.

It can be widely used as a decision-making tool equally applicable in a variety of high-impact businesses such as e.g. ClimaTech or Life Sciences & MedTech.

The application of LCA can guide companies in developing sustainable strategies and reducing their environmental and social impact, while increasing their operational competitiveness.

How Does LCA Transform Sustainability?

By assessing overall supply-chain stages like raw material extraction, production, distribution, use, and disposal, LCA allows for a reconsideration of the status-quo and identifies opportunities for improvement.

Considering such factors as energy consumption, emissions, and resource depletion, LCA provides a detailed understanding of the overall environmental footprint of products, processes, or services.

CBR’s holistic approach

Comprehensive assessments are the backbone of LCA. They ensure a complete understanding of environmental impacts through meticulous data collection and analysis.

Drive Strategic Development

Using LCA insights fosters long-term sustainability.
This strategic approach enhances operative efficiency and reduces environmental impacts.

Ensure Regulatory Compliance

LCA aids in meeting local and international environmental regulations. Staying compliant is essential, and LCA provides the framework for proactive management.

Advance Sustainable Innovation

Early adoption of LCA data allows to adapt R&D and production processes and innovate sustainably.

The Role of LCA in MedTech Sustainability

Among other things, in the MedTech sector, LCA helps companies understand and mitigate the environmental impact of their products, ensuring sustainable practices and compliance with environmental regulations.

MedTech products, often designed for single use and composed of complex materials, present unique challenges for sustainability.

In this article we want to show you how the following studies illustrate the way in which LCA can inform and drive sustainable practices within this industry.

Case Study 1: Environmental Impact of Remanufacturing Electrophysiology Catheters

A study conducted by Schulte, Maga, and Thonemann at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT examined the remanufacturing of electrophysiology catheters. These catheters, typically single-use, have significant remanufacturing potential. The study utilized two LCA approaches to compare the environmental impacts of remanufactured versus virgin-produced catheters.

Key Findings:

  • Global Warming Impact: Remanufactured catheters reduce global warming impact by 50.4%.
  • Resource Use: There is a 28.8% reduction in abiotic resource use with remanufactured catheters.
  • Circularity Indicator: Combining LCA with circularity indicators showed that increased collection rates of used catheters further amplified environmental benefits.

These findings underscore the environmental advantages of remanufacturing medical devices, providing valuable insights for policymakers and industry stakeholders


Case Study 2: Comparing Sterilization Packaging – Rigid Sterile Containers vs. Blue Wrap

Another critical study focused on the sterilization packaging for surgical instruments, comparing rigid sterile containers (RSCs) with blue wrap. Researchers from Leiden University Medical Center and Delft University of Technology conducted an in-depth LCA.

Key Findings:

  • Eco-Costs: RSCs present 84% lower eco-costs compared to blue wrap.
  • Carbon Footprint: RSCs produce significantly less CO2e—285 kg over 5,000 sterilization cycles versus 1,869 kg for blue wrap.
  • Environmental Breakeven Point: RSCs become environmentally beneficial after just 68 sterilization cycles, with the benefits increasing proportionally over the product life cycle.

These results highlight the substantial environmental benefits of opting for reusable sterilization containers over disposable blue wrap, challenging entrenched practices in healthcare facilities.

Case Study 3: Environmental Considerations in Medical Staplers

Freund, Gast, Zuegge, and Hicks conducted a comparative LCA of two single-use medical staplers, revealing significant differences in environmental impacts based on product complexity and material use.

Key Findings:

  • Material Impact: The more complex stapler, with greater mass, exhibited higher environmental impacts across all categories.
  • Dematerialization Potential: Reducing material use in staplers can mitigate environmental impacts, though considerations for durability and functionality are crucial

This study highlights that even minor design modifications can significantly lower the environmental impact of medical devices, ultimately positioning these improved devices as leaders in the conventional market. By focusing on sustainability, these innovations not only meet environmental goals but also appeal to environmentally conscious consumers, thus gaining a competitive edge.

Case Study 4: Life Cycle Cost and Environmental Impact of Surgical Scissors Repair

Rizan et al. explored the environmental and financial benefits of repairing versus replacing surgical scissors. The LCA included scenarios of no repair, onsite repair, and offsite repair.

Key Findings:

  • Carbon Footprint: Repairing scissors reduces the carbon footprint by 19% (offsite repair) compared to no repair.
  • Cost Savings: Repairing scissors decreases life cycle costs by 32%.

Decontamination Impact: Decontamination remains the largest contributor to the carbon footprint, emphasizing the need for efficient sterilization processes.

The findings support the practice of repairing medical instruments to achieve both environmental and economic benefits.

Real-World Application: Stryker's Neptune 3 System

The company Stryker provides a compelling example of how LCA is applied in practice. The company conducted an LCA to compare the environmental impacts of their Neptune 3 Waste Management System against traditional suction canisters for the collection and disposal of intra-operative fluids.

Key Findings:

Global Warming Impact: Neptune 3 significantly reduces the CO2e emissions compared to conventional canisters.
Resource Use: The system also saves a substantial amount of fossil resources, equating to several barrels of petroleum.
Strategic Advantage: By leveraging LCA, Stryker not only reduces environmental impacts but also strengthens its market position by aligning with the sustainability goals of hospitals and governments.

This example demonstrates how companies can use LCA not only to mitigate environmental impacts but also to gain a strategic market advantage, highlighting the dual benefits of adopting sustainable practices.



Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) serves as a powerful tool in driving sustainability in MedTech. By providing a comprehensive analysis of environmental impacts across the product life cycle, LCA helps stakeholders make informed decisions that enhance sustainability and compliance. The studies discussed illustrate how LCA can identify opportunities for reducing environmental footprints, promoting circularity, and ultimately contributing to a more sustainable healthcare system.

As the importance of sustainability continues to grow, the role of LCA in shaping environmentally responsible practices will only become more crucial.

Unlock Sustainability and Market Leadership with Our Expert Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Services

Are you ready to enhance your environmental impact and gain a competitive edge? At CBR Sustainability Partners, we offer comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) services tailored to the unique needs of ClimaTech and MedTech industries. Our expert team is here to guide you through the process, from customized LCA studies to strategic sustainability development.

How can our expertise support your sustainability strategy:

  • Customized LCA Studies: Detailed assessments tailored to your products and processes.
  • Circularity Assessments: Enhance product life cycles and reduce waste.#
  • Regulatory Compliance Support: Ensure adherence to environmental regulations.#
  • Sustainability Strategy Development: Align with global standards and goals.
  • Competitive Advantage Analysis: Differentiate your products in the market.
  • Training and Workshops: Educate your team on best practices.


How Companies Benefit from Our Services:

Enhanced Sustainability

Through detailed LCA studies, we help companies identify and mitigate their environmental impacts, leading to more sustainable practices.

Regulatory Compliance

We ensure your processes and products meet environmental regulations, reducing the risk of non-compliance and potential penalties.

Cost Savings

By identifying inefficiencies and opportunities for resource optimization, our LCA services can lead to significant cost reductions in production and disposal phases.

Market Differentiation

Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability can enhance your brand reputation, attract environmentally conscious consumers, and provide a competitive edge.

Stakeholder Engagement

Clear, scientifically-backed sustainability data improves communication with stakeholders, investors, and customers, enhancing trust and engagement.

Get Started Today

If you’re interested in learning more about Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) or need professional assistance with conducting it for your products, please feel free to contact us. Our team of experts is here to help you achieve your sustainability goals and ensure compliance with environmental standards.

Interested in other methods? We can also help you with product carbon footprint (PCF) guidance and implementation.

José Carrillo


Driven by a passion for unravelling the complexities of a range of business models and their intersection with technology, society, financial, legal and environmental ethics, my mission is to drive companies towards a revolutionary equilibrium where sustainability becomes their most impactful legacy.

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