Every day, Tandem insulin pump users are doing their part to reduce and recycle. We’re proud to make the only rechargeable insulin pumps on the market and estimate that the Tandem Family has helped keep more than 13 million disposable batteries out of landfills since our pumps first became available in 2012.1
Together, these users will save more than 26.4 million batteries over the life of their pumps — that's almost $24.6 million already saved, and more than $49.3 million our users won't spend on batteries over the lifetime of their pumps.2
Batteries use chemical reactions to store and produce energy. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals can harm the environment if they aren’t properly discarded. Despite recycling programs around the country, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans throw away billions of disposable batteries each year.
Rechargeable batteries, like those used in Tandem insulin pumps, have a much smaller environmental footprint because of their reusability. Not only do they last longer over time, but thanks to trade-in programs for the high-tech devices that use these batteries, the heavy metals also find their way into landfills less often than their disposable counterparts.
Historically, insulin pump upgrade programs have required a physical exchange of hardware. Yet, through the Tandem Device Updater, more than 130,000 Tandem pumps have been remotely updated with new pump software and features worldwide. Since last count, the Updater has also resulted in producing 60,000 fewer screens, batteries, and circuit boards, and 200,000 fewer UPS shipments to keep Tandem customers outfitted with the newest technology. And, those numbers keep growing. Remote updates can also be made from the comfort of home, all without interrupting therapy.*
In recent years, we’ve adjusted our cartridge packaging to reduce the size of each Tyvek pouch, and we loved hearing from our Tandem Family who noticed and appreciated this change.
We also have several ongoing recycling programs where we work with vendors who specialize in e-waste, used medical sharps, and the different waste materials used to make our pumps and cartridges (including alkaline batteries, lithium batteries, plastics, and metals).3
This doesn’t have to be just an Earth Day initiative. We can all make a difference by replacing single-use batteries with the recyclable, rechargeable kind for any device we use. Using rechargeable batteries can lead to an array of benefits, including saving money and helping to ensure that fewer batteries get into landfills.
For ideas on proper disposal of diabetes waste in your area see: SafeNeedleDisposal.org
Note: This post was originally published April 2016 and is updated each Earth Day.
*Additional feature updates are not currently available for the t:slim X2 insulin pump with Control-IQ technology. Control-IQ technology is available only to customers who reside in the United States or Canada, and other select geographies. Future updates for all or some of Tandem’s products may not be developed and may not be offered everywhere and would be subject to applicable regulatory approvals. Software updates are only available to customers who are in warranty at the time they update their pump. Additional training may be required to access certain future software updates. Charges may apply. Tandem may discontinue select software and features over time at its discretion.
1 Estimation since August 31, 2012, as of December 31, 2021, assuming 20-day battery life of disposable batteries when used in other insulin pumps. Data on file.
2 Calculation uses $7.47 for a 4-pack of batteries.
3 Medical waste is incinerated, not recycled.