Recycling/Sustainability in Pharma Packaging

The pharmaceutical industry requires a lot of packaging. Packaging in pharma can often be a challenge because many products can require packaging that protects them, maintains their efficacy and perhaps keeps them secure. The world of sustainable packaging in pharma is changing, with different products and services being created to help pharma businesses be more eco-friendly. Pharma products need to be sent all around the world, but they can still be handled in an ecological way. While using sustainable packing has its benefits, it also has some drawbacks. It’s important to consider other parts of the supply chain when aiming to be kinder to the environment.

One of the ways to make sure that packaging is sustainable is to use recyclable materials. Glass is one of the most popular materials that can be recycled, and can be used to make bottles, jars and containers.

How Is Glass Recycled?

Glass bottles and other glass products are common as packaging in the pharmaceutical industry. Glass bottles are convenient for pills and liquids, for example, helping to keep medications the right temperature and providing solid packaging. Glass packaging can often be reused, and many people return their medication bottles to their pharmacy. Glass can also be recycled, so it’s a good choice for sustainable pharma packaging. Glass is one of the easiest things to recycle, using a fairly simple process.

Recycling glass includes a number of steps, such as:

Sorting glass by colour and washing to ensure it’s clean

Crushing and then melting the glass

Moulding the glass into new products to be used again

When glass is recycled, the process doesn’t degrade it. So glass packaging can be recycled again and again, as well as simply being reused. There can be some downsides to recycling glass. The process can be expensive, especially as glass has to be sorted into different colours. However, recycling glass can also save energy, reduce pollution and protect the environment.

What Are the New Developments in Sustainable Packaging?

There are various things to consider for pharma companies that want to make their packaging more sustainable. Several materials make excellent choices for sustainable packaging, in addition to glass. These include PE or PET made from sugarcane, recycled plastic and biodegradable products. As well as the choice of materials, reducing the amount of materials used also makes pharma packaging more sustainable. When you choose the right material, you can often reduce the amount of packaging that’s required.

Packaging that can be refilled and recycled is already widely in use. Many new developments are based on biodegradable packagings like biodegradable plastics, and even edible packaging that includes starch, gelatin and other materials. Techniques for creating packaging are also a strong focus.

What is The Cost of Developing Sustainable Packaging Solutions?

Sustainable packaging can present some challenges. While it’s a good way to reduce a company’s carbon footprint, it’s not the only way. Relying on the use of sustainable packaging alone might not be the best choice. The development of new sustainable packaging can be expensive. Researching new materials and technologies requires funding, and new techniques are often initially expensive. It’s always important to take potential downsides into account when looking for eco-solutions for your business. It’s a careful balance when making changes to any business.

How Can a Sustainable Supply Chain Help?

The use of sustainable packaging materials is just one way that pharma companies can become more eco-friendly. Creating a sustainable supply chain also helps companies to go green and to save money. Some of the things that pharmaceutical companies can do include ensuring they transport their products in an environmentally-friendly way and using sustainable manufacturing methods for both their packaging and their products. For example, methods like 3D printing can be used to create packaging in a sustainable way that requires less energy and helps to reduce waste too.

What is The Future of Sustainable Supply Chains in Pharma?

Many pharmaceutical companies have begun to take a more sustainable approach to their packaging. Big firms like Johnson & Johnson have made commitments to reducing their use of packaging and using sustainable solutions. Many companies create their own initiatives to push for better sustainability for their company, and some turn to services that can help them to achieve their goals through packaging and through their supply chain. One campaign that is trying to encourage sustainability in the pharmaceutical industry is the SaferPharma campaign, which encourages pharma companies to focus on their impact on the environment.

Recycling glass is just one of many ways that pharma packaging can be made more sustainable. Considering the whole supply chain is important for true sustainability.