Insulin Pen Take-back Programme

This Action aligns with the following Calls to Action from th Circular Economy Action Agenda for Plastics

6. Set-up functioning collection systems

3. Address hygiene and safety concerns to promote plastics reuse 



Novo Nordisk has a clear ambition to become a fully circular company and, in this spirit, is initiating the Insulin Pen Take-back Programme with the aim to target an urgency that the pharmaceutical industry can unite on. For people living with diabetes, their insulin pen is an essential daily companion. Even if an insulin pen consists of around 77% plastic, it cannot be thrown into the plastic recycling bin along with empty juice bottles and food packaging. The Insulin Pen Take-back Programme will launch a take-back pilot from users and scale up the recycle process used to dismantle the pens and reuse the plastic and glass parts in new products. 



The programme pilot in Denmark has resulted in the creation of a 15-partners cross public and private partnership, Returpen. In order to recycle the plastic parts, Novo Nordisk was able to work with a Danish design firm to create office chairs from the discarded plastic and lamps made from the glass from the discarded insulin vials. The upcoming objectives of this programme are to conclude the pilot programme in Denmark, to scale up the programme - specifically by designing pilot solutions for the UK, France, Brazil, China and the US - and to develop a take-back strategy roadmap.



Novo Nordisk 

See the full list of partners here