Sustainable Pharmaceutical Packaging

Delivering comprehensive sustainability packaging programmes for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies across the globe, to reduce plastic in packaging design and reducing carbon footprint across the packaging supply chain.

Origin has been working hard to develop sustainable pharmaceutical packaging. Sustainability has become an increasingly prominent matter across every industry, as businesses and individuals begin to realise how important it is to reduce waste for the good of the planet. Sustainable packaging is designed to use materials that have a lesser impact on the environment. It can be reusable or recyclable to reduce reliance on packaging that is used once, before being sent to a landfill or filling our oceans. At Origin, we are dedicated to providing sustainable packaging solutions for environmentally responsible companies.

Our sustainable packaging has been in development for a while. Our dedicated NPD team are continually researching materials and processes to try and reduce the cost and the materials used. Sustainable packaging is now becoming more viable for us, our clients and for businesses everywhere. Growing concerns for the levels of plastic in our oceans is currently pushing the drive to find better solutions. People are rallying behind causes aiming to reduce single-use disposable products, such as drinking straws and plastic bags. We know that our clients and their customers are becoming increasingly concerned about the environment and we want to be part of the movement for change.

Sustainable Materials

Sustainable materials offer one way to create eco-friendly packaging. These materials are selected because they can be harvested or created with less impact on the environment, and might be more easily reused or recycled too.
Some of the sustainable materials available for packaging include:

PE or PET made from sugarcane
This material is made by first taking ethanol from the sugarcane and dehydrating it, so it becomes ethylene. It is then converted into green polyethylene/PET at a polymerisation plant.

Post consumer regrind (PCR)
These recycled plastic products help to save energy and reduce the use of materials that can’t be recycled or renewed. Manufacturing new plastics becomes less necessary when existing plastics can be recycled and used again.

Biodegradable products
Products that will naturally break down in the same manner as a compostable material can be useful, sustainable alternatives. A primary concern with plastics is that they could take hundreds of years to break down, leaving plastic products to contaminate oceans and other natural features. The biodegradable material can perform the same functions as normal plastic but breaks down polymers to help the material degrade faster.

PLA (polylactic acid)
This compostable polymer is created from renewable sources, including corn starch. Research into how this material can be used is ongoing, and there are some limitations to its uses.

The right choice of sustainable material can fulfil the same role as more traditional, but less eco-friendly materials. They are useful for both solid and liquid substances, and can still produce quality packaging that won’t have a negative effect on brand perception and reputation. In fact, the use of sustainable materials is likely to improve brand reputation, and it will help any business work towards a more environmentally-responsible future.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

A carbon footprint measures the total greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by a person, organisation, event or product.

A carbon footprint is measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). The carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) allows the different greenhouse gases to be compared on a like-for-like basis relative to one unit of CO2. CO2e is calculated by multiplying the emissions of each of the six greenhouse gases by its 100 year global warming potential (GWP).

A carbon footprint considers all six of the Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gases: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

Example Calculation:
Place of production: Basel
Where are you transporting your product: London
Total distance: 923km
Mode of transport: lorry
Total weight: 35 tones
Overall CO2e impact per kg: 354.4476194

Current Carbon Footprint
Total overall CO2e impact when product has reduced materials =

Sustainable Processes

Environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes are also a key factor in producing sustainable packaging. The right processes can help to reduce waste and reliance on energy, contributing to creating a product with a lower carbon footprint. One of the ways that Origin can ensure a sustainable process is through the use of 3D printing techniques. 3D modelling allows us to develop and test ideas in small volumes before moving onto the next stage of design. This helps to reduce waste and ensures a workable product when it’s time to produce packaging in greater numbers. As well as offering a sustainable method of producing prototypes without waste, the process of 3D printing is fast and reliable.

Creating sustainable packaging can involve more than using the best materials and processes. Design is important for sustainability too, and many businesses are reducing the amount of packaging they use. Cutting down packaging in size, so that it’s only as large as it needs to be, reduces the amount of material required, as well as the need for space for storage and transport.

4D Process

Our sustainable packaging process follows the Origin PILOT 4D process, going through a number of key steps to deliver a packaging product that meets each client’s needs. Whether we are using standard packaging materials or sustainable solutions, we always follow this comprehensive process to ensure satisfaction and smart design and development.

Each project goes through the steps of Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver:

Discover – client consultation to find out about the client’s challenges and begin developing solutions

Define – exploring the specifics and analysing the challenge to pin down the root cause, preparing a brief for the client to show how we can overcome the challenge

Develop – creating a solution to the challenge that has been presented

Deliver – realising the plan to deliver a finished product

Each stage of the process features a number of steps, where we ask important questions and continually make adjustments to create a product that meets the client’s needs.

Pilot Flow Diagram

The Benefits of Sustainable Packaging for Your Business

Using sustainable packaging offers a range of benefits for you and your customers. As the people who buy your products become more concerned about sustainability, you know that you need to respond. You also have your own concerns about the impact your business has on the environment. By making some changes, you could begin a new chapter of your business journey.

Sustainable packaging for your products can reduce both the materials used and the resources required to produce the packaging. This not only creates a greener future for your business but can also save money by reducing wastage. Money can also by saved by reducing the amount of packaging to save space. Over time, these savings can build and allow you to redirect the money you have saved to more important things.

A boost in reputation is by far one of the biggest benefits a business will receive from switching some or all of their packaging to sustainable designs. Customers who care about the environmental record of the brands they choose will stay loyal to companies that show their dedication to continual improvement.

Want to reduce the materials in your packaging line and create an optimised pack? Contact us today

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