Oxygen PRO® – Environmental Credentials and Sustainability

Oxygen PRO is a conveniently sized, portable canister charged with 99.5% pure oxygen gas, designed to aid in the recovery from a variety of physiologically stressed or impaired conditions. But what makes the device such a valuable asset is that the aerosol canister contains a specially designed activated carbon adsorbent which makes it possible to store and deliver a much larger volume of oxygen to the user than could be otherwise accommodated using compression alone. In fact, in the absence of the adsorbent, the aerosol canister would need to be about two-thirds of a metre in length in order to contain the same quantity of gas. Hence, the employment of activated carbon provides for a minimal volume containment, whilst storing the maximum quantity of oxygen, to enable packaging to be kept also to a minimum.

Oxygen PRO has a number of components that were designed and selected for optimal performance and minimal environmental impact. The aerosol packaging format designed for Oxygen PRO was chosen in order to benefit from the ready availability and affordability of the commercial cans, valves and actuators that the industry provides.

The product is intended to be ultimately recyclable, refillable and re-usable so that, once manufactured, the device and its components can sustain many cycles of potential usage. In this way, this no-frills, functional packaging should enable many re-uses, before reaching the stage of end-of-life disposal for recycling.

Activated Carbon: The activated carbon, at the heart of the technology used in Oxygen PRO, is produced by high temperature, steam treatment of coconut shells which is a by-product of the coconut industry. Everything in the coconut is used, primarily for food, and nothing is wasted – even the coir is used in the cottage industries of S.E. Asia for the production of doormats and the like.

Unlike the oil palm tree, the environmental impact of the coconut tree is very low and remains un-associated with widespread deforestation. Around 95 % of the total global harvest of the coconut is grown by smallholders from developing countries, such as Indonesia, The Philippines and Sri Lanka who depend upon this industry for their livelihoods.

When manufactured from such agricultural waste in a modern facility, the activated carbon represents a reusable, recyclable and environmentally friendly product that is derived from a sustainable resource. Indeed, the manufacturing process can produce more energy than the activation process itself uses and the activated carbon thus derived, ultimately from atmospheric carbon dioxide (as part of the natural carbon cycle), is stable on the geological timescale. Carbon dioxide can therefore be considered to be effectively permanently captured from the manufacture of the activated carbon from this feedstock.

The activated carbon used in Oxygen PRO can be reclaimed and reused in a new canister before re-charging with oxygen prior to return to the customer (activated carbon can be endlessly used and re-used for this application). Where the activated carbon cannot be reused, for example, where recycling facilities are not available, the material can be employed as fuel for incineration, or disposed of as a benign landfill.

The Eco Oxygen Mask: The Eco Oxygen mask used in the package utilizes the latest manufacturing technology and enables the combination of two, non-PVC materials in the same mask. The material forming the body of the mask is clear and sufficiently rigid to maintain the mask’s shape. The second, softer material is utilized in the manufacture of the seal, which is in contact with the user’s face. The use of these materials has resulted in a mask with an environmental impact score of 4 milli eco points compared to the equivalent PVC mask which has an environmental impact score of 15 milli eco points (a 73 % reduction).

Silicone Rubber Tubing: The connecting tube used with the Oxygen PRO/mask package is composed of silicone rubber. This inert, durable, non-toxic material is indisputably safer for human health and more environmentally friendly than most plastics. It endures extreme fluctuations in temperature without melting, cracking or otherwise degrading and resists oxidative deterioration. It is recyclable, where collection facilities exist, by grinding and mixing the shredded material with fresh silicone. Although not biodegradable, silicone rubber, when ultimately disposed of, can be sent for incineration where the silicone is converted back to sand, carbon dioxide and water vapour.

Inhaler Cup: An inhaler cup may be used in preference to the oxygen mask for the delivery of oxygen. The Oxygen PRO inhaler cup is a proprietarily designed accessory constructed of polypropylene copolymer (strictly ethylene/propylene copolymer). This material is 100 % recyclable (resin identification code 5) and is also chosen for its softness and low density as well as its physiological benignity. Polypropylene co-polymer is also used in disposable syringes and other common medical appliances.

Juno Spout: The Juno spout employed in the Oxygen PRO canisters is a small unit also of recyclable polypropylene construction, to enable the actuation of the valve for oxygen delivery. This component comes with a safety cap to protect the valve and avoid premature discharge of the contents. The manufacturers of the actuator have recently reduced the weight of this component by some 60% to minimize any environmental burden. This has been achieved by designing a narrower valve stem central cover than the earlier version in which there is more free space around the button, and the plastic is generally thinner all around. This is a welcome weight-saving design change which does not compromise the performance of the device.

The Canister: The high-pressure rated canister employed for Oxygen PRO is of aluminium construction. Ideally, the empty canister may be returned, refilled and reused. However, if the canister itself has suffered any damage or become compromised in any way (beyond regular leakage), or if return is not practical, the aluminium container can be recycled in the knowledge that aluminium manufactured from recycled metal requires only 5 % of the energy required for its production from ore.

Oxygen: Oxygen is the ‘active ingredient’ in Oxygen PRO. It has no meaningful Global Warming Potential, is non-toxic, non-flammable and odourless and has no environmental impact.

The Outer Packaging: The outer package used for Oxygen PRO canisters is of sturdy construction and is made from recycled paper from a supplier with FSC accreditation. It is designed and correctly sized for the canister and associated components to avoid waste.

Oxygen PRO take their environmental responsibilities seriously and have chosen the components that make up the device with due consideration to the environment. Once a customer has received an Oxygen PRO canister with the necessary breathing accessories, subsequent canister refills (without a mask and tubing, or inhaler cup) are available at a discounted rate.