• Design Brief + 3 Sketches (see Responses)

    Well-being

    My thesis mission is to raise awareness about the harmful effects of improper medical waste disposal in the home by creating a product and a program that reduces the impact these effects have on people and the environment.

    1. There is a huge difference between what people know about how to properly dispose of things and how they actually do it.
    2. Most people aren’t aware of the large amount of waste that comes from medical equipment.
    3. Most people do not know that it is incinerated, and they don’t understand how these practices can directly affect their health.
    4. I thought I had to focus on home medical waste and try to solve all the problems revolving around improper disposal, but I am finding that the problem I have identified as my biggest concern is the incineration.
    5. My strategy is to raise awareness about the larger issue because I cannot stop the problem with one product. Instead I can tackle one smaller problem that slowly breaks the cycle and perhaps makes a small change that leads to a bigger change in the future.

    I have identified three areas of design opportunities. First of all I think it is really important for the waste to travel easily. This would make the jobs of the Visiting Nurses, and users of the medical equipment able to bring them to take back places in a safe manner. I think its also important to introduce some kind of segregation system that separates materials into like containers where they can be color coded and disposed of in the manner which best suits their material. I am also interested in seeing how material substitutions can be put in place. The other issue that I think is really important would be to raise awareness of the issue of waste in general. I have considered a re-design of popular home water filters like the Brita but instead of filtering out bacteria, it filters pharmaceuticals as well. It can also come with a built in indicator that shows the levels of pharmaceuticals in the water so that people understand the risks they are taking when they drink straight from the tap.

    Along with my NFP, Health Care Without Harm I plan to try and put a stop to Improper disposal of home medical waste. I would also like to redirect this disposal to “greener” alternatives than incineration for disposal. This would also encourage the development of new technologies and material responsibility. I want to target a universal audience in terms of awareness but I want to target the people in the home who receive these treatments. I would also like to consider visiting nurses and caretakers because I believe they have just as much importance as the people receiving the care. Because these caretakers have direct contact with Hospitals, their waste disposal program is equally just as important. Therefore I would like to change the entire waste disposal cycle.

    Location/Context: Home Medical Treatment/Waste Incineration Target Market: Universal, People Receiving Home Medical Care, Hospitals Age Group: Elderly, Children-Elderly with Diabetes, Professional Home Caretakers, Hospitals Cost/Marketing Techniques: Contact Equipment Manufacturers and Insist they need this product Evaluation/Prototype Testing: Visiting Nurses, Anyone receiving a prescription Materials: Alternative Materials, Reusable, Recyclable Production Process: Mass Production Packaging/Distribution Method: Packaging and Distribution along with Treatment Equipment

  • Containers_132_

    These interlocking containers would be made of different materials depending on what they contain and where they are destined to go. I think material segregation in the home and for caretakers is just as important because some materials of medical equipment can be reused and some cannot. Some can be disposed of by other methods than incineration. They will be mass produced and distributed with the medical equipment they are made to contain. Possible materials: recyclable plastic, advanced ceramics, metal, waxed cardboard. Mass Produced as Packaging for Medical Equipment.

  • Travel_case_132_

    Diabetes patients have a hard time organizing and disposing of their materials when they are traveling. Caretakers and visiting nurses have the same exact problem. If things can travel easily then they can be used to travel to take back centers, especially if it is convenient to do so. These materials would need to be softer, but firm and durable. Possible Materials: Synthetic fabrics, Plastics, Foams, Plastic. Mass Produced and Distributed as packaging for home equipment.

  • Filter_177_

    I think it is important to raise awareness about the issue of who is effected by the pollution produced from medicinal waste. Because the chemicals from medical waste slowly make their way back into our drinking water, a great way to raise awareness about the problem is to produce a small solution. Although it does not address the entire cycle of the problem, it is a way to concern people about their own safety. This filter removes chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and bacteria from drinking water. It also shows the level of harm in the water. Possible Materials are not plastics, but metal and advanced ceramics, glass (natural materials). These would also be mass produced and sold in any store.

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