Case Study

Enhancing Healthcare Safety & Sustainability


Superior product quality is critical to ensure the medical industry meets the highest patient safety and effectiveness standards. In addition, healthcare manufacturers must seek regulatory compliance, better performance, and sustainable product design to remain competitive.

For over 30 years, the medical industry has relied on Kraton to deliver high-quality solutions to advance patient safety and sustainability while meeting strict performance requirements. Kraton’s enhanced rubber segment (ERS) polymer technology offers improved processability and compatibility with polypropylene (PP). The ERS and PP blends can withstand most sterilization methods, significantly enhancing performance and transparency in medical bags, tubes, and flexible films. Kraton G1646, the latest product based on ERS midblock technology, delivers excellent optical properties, flexibility, and kink resistance in medical tubing while being plasticizer-free*. Our polymers can replace polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in medical equipment applications and are free of phthalates and plasticizers*.

The Wiltopia playsets teach children exciting knowledge about animals, nature, and the importance of sustainability in a fun and engaging way. It is also Playmobil’s first product range made from an average of over 80% sustainable material. Playmobil partnered with Coolrec to produce the toys with recycled ABS plastic from refrigerator waste to achieve this. Coolrec, part of Renewi, is a leading e-waste-to-product company focusing on high-quality raw materials like (non-ferrous) metals and plastics. To meet Playmobil’s performance and quality needs, Kraton SBC was utilized as an additive to increase the impact strength of the recycled ABS material and help maintain good product stiffness. In combination with the recycled waste, Kraton’s high-performance polymers enabled enhanced durability, crack resistance, and extended product life for the new toy line.

Plasticizers are chemicals commonly used in PVC for medical applications such as IV bags and tubing to make plastics more flexible and durable. However, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, using plasticizers in medical devices can negatively affect patient health. Known health effects include:

  • Toxicity: Certain plasticizers, such as phthalates, are known to be toxic and interfere with the body’s mechanism for hormone production.
  • Leaching: Plasticizers can leach out of medical devices and contaminate IV fluids or medications.
  • Allergic reactions: Patients may be allergic to plasticizers used in medical devices, which can cause skin irritation and rashes.
  • Environmental Impact: PVC-based medical equipment is often incinerated, which can cause the release of dioxins from the incineration of PVC-based materials.

Kraton’s products enable medical manufacturers to lower leachable profiles, improve drug compatibility, and resolve Type I allergies caused by plasticizers. Our recyclable products offer a path to sustainable design due to more efficient end-of-life waste management. By switching to Kraton’s ERS-based solutions, the healthcare industry can eliminate plasticizer-related health concerns, comply with stringent regulations, and advance sustainability within medical equipment and devices.

* No plasticizers or phthalates intentionally added