Dexcom wasting our planet

So I got my g6 today and I was a little surprised by the weight of the box. I thought maybe my pump was in there too but it wasn’t. I put the sensor in and then I realized that the giant inserter was DISPOSABLE!!!
Are you kidding me. This is at least a quarter pound of plastic and metal waste. I’ve heard people complain about the waste in dexcom sensors but really I had no idea it was this bad. I thought minimed was bad. I would insert them manually and Chuck the plastic bit. But wow how do I throw this away in good conscience.? This almost seems like a parody of wasteful pharma ideas. Can you imagine the board room when this was planned out. “ yea just chuck this giant thing for every sensor” and everyone in the room is like “ yea that’s perfectly reasonable”
I’m really really irritated and if I had another option for my new pump, I would take it. I would even take the less reliable minimed sensors. Uuuugh


I just started using the G6 system recently. I’m on my second sensor. So I’m late to the G6 but have read this complaint before and I do think it’s legitimate. I think Dexcom placed a high premium on a sensor inserter that could place sensors with little adverse sensation and from the two I have inserted and the many positive comments I’ve read, they are successful with that design goal.

Just think of your perspective if you were the parent of a five year old T1D who didn’t want to accept puncturing his/her body with yet another diabetes related treatment. You may value avoiding throwing 3 ounces of plastic inserter waste into the landfill every 10 days but now that thought is balanced out by safety and the long term benefit of the better glucose control enabled by the sensor.

Now I’m not arguing that this is an “either or” choice that Dexcom has made. I do think that the G6 could have been produced with a reusable inserter. I’ve heard Dexcom officers challenged with this criticism more than once in podcasts and they’ve conceded that they need to address this issue.

I think Dexcom has failed in the “green test” with this device but we do need to look at the overall social good of the health benefits of their sensors. I can only hope that Dexcom will try to satisfy both the health of people and the environment going forward.

Now if we can somehow address all the other wastes involved with diabetes treatment including throw-away test strips, insulin pump infusion sets, tubing and all the packaging involved. But let’s not forget the environmental good of avoided dialysis, amputations, heart treatments and eye surgeries that better glucose control that glucose sensors enable. It’s not a simple calculation. We can do better and we, as people forced to live with diabetes, must remind the Dexcoms of the world that they need to think of the environment, too.


The G7 will be less waste, with sensor + transmitter combined with inserter, similar to freestyle libre. Fully disposable, less footprint.


Yep. They claim there’s no more plastic waste than with the G5. It might be thin plastic, but the entire device is still very bulky and takes up space in a landfill.

We have a permaculture homestead and try very diligently to be environmentally conscious. But even my husband, who is the real tree-hugger in this family, agrees that the benefits the CGM and my pump integration have brought about far outweigh the waste problem.

We live very rurally without trash services. We have to drive our waste far away and pay per bag of non-recyclable trash. My non-recyclable (and non-burnable) can is pretty much exclusively biohazard D supplies.

I would be happiest if I could separate the needle and other metal bits from the recyclable/burnable plastic housing.


Honest question, does Dex have a lifecycle/waste expert in the executive suite?


I’ve heard the term “c-suite” and just looked up its meaning. It refers to corporate executives that have “chief” as part of their title as in, chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), and chief information officer (CIO). I think they could employ a chief sustainability officer (CSO). I’m not sure what the makeup is of their corporate leaders. We have to keep in mind that this is not Apple or Amazon we’re talking about here.


I think the volume of waste goes down with g7.

I think the volume few diabetes waste is way too high for almost all products.

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The g7 will be throwing batteries into the land fill every 10 days. The original dex inserted easily. And was reusable. I really don’t get it.

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Yep. Almost all med products really

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Dexcom has a market cap (value) of $40 billion


Wow. I haven’t followed their business that closely. Seems like they could afford to devote more resource into a sustainability plan.


I just moved from using Libre. That inserter is pretty big too. Not as long but still plastic. Can you imagine all that plastic waste? I’m not very much into this sort of thing but it really is a lot of plastic!

I think the solve would be a reusable applicator.

But given the fact we recycle what we can and where we moved we actually have to take anything that can be recycled to an actual drop off area and they have strict rules about it too. I think we try pretty hard.

It would be nice if it was less waste. I have had the Libre and it is bulky too and not as nice. But I gladly will use the G6 applicator as it is such a nice easy applicator, much better than the Libre. Much better than so much finger sticking, it has made my life easier and nicer.

But one reason to restart your sensors…it saves some of all that waste!

A bit part of the problem with medical waste is disposable products. Obviously things that are used such as infusion sets or used test strips can’t be recycled. But in recent years, especially in the USA, everything is disposable. Moving away from disposable pens to reusable pens, from disposable insertion devices to reusable insertion devices, and from disposable transmitters (whether built-in or separate) to transmitters where batteries could be replaced would be a huge step in the right direction. There would still be waste, but to some extent that is unavoidable with medical supplies.


Yes the dexcom inserter retracts and holds the needle so it can’t be recycled. But if it worked on say 100 sensors and held 100 needles it would be a much more reasonable device.


I totally agree! pretty horrified with how much waste the pump sets, etc create too, but the G6 is so much plastic! at least I only use one every 20 days or so, but why can’t they make this reusable…? Seems like it wouldn’t be that hard if that was a priority. I wonder if anyone has an inside ear to Dexcom? I’ll mention to our Hawaii rep who seems to be quite receptive and involved, just to see if our voices can be heard!


It seems to me that the big idea in diabetes today is any idea that solves the waste issue. We do not need patients to solve this problem per-se. What we need most is patients demanding a change. When e do that we will no doubt get the change we need.


they really need to figure something out with all of their waste. i dont see why the applicator cant be made to be reusable. wouldnt it save dexcom money too??

Issue comes down to money. There is always a financial concern w/ patients and insurance about cost. Until society as whole gets a lot better about recycling; designing something that is not one time use is going to cost more especially upfront.