Disposable scalpels

Design: Edward Goodwin

‘Sustainability has always informed my method of working,’ says Royal College of Art graduate Edward Goodwin, winner of the Lattice-sponsored sustainable award. ‘I’ve studied both the weak and the strong approach to sustainability, but always from a designer’s point of view,’ he says.

With a Cambridge University degree in electronics and information sciences, Goodwin took a year out to work with companies such as Alcatel, before embarking on a RCA masters degree in industrial design. His award-winning project concerns disposable scalpels for hospitals. The injection-moulded plastic tools will combust at a high temperature with low emissions, reducing waste and pollution in hospitals. ‘Disposable blades rather than removable blades are being increasingly used in hospitals’ sterile settings, especially in the wake of Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease, the human variation of BSE,’ says Goodwin.

Yet Goodwin found that available disposable scalpels still follow the design and manufacturing principles of those with removable blades. With a perforated plastic, ergonomically designed handle and a smaller blade, Goodwin’s scalpels are lighter to use and use 25 per cent less plastic, as well as 50 per cent less steel. At the moment, Goodwin is in talks with various manufacturers to take the scalpels into production, which should also retail at a lower price than those currently available. He will continue at the RCA as a research fellow for the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre on a Waitrose-sponsored project on sustainable packaging for elderly people.

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