Pharmaceutical companies have been eager to look for alternatives to conventional packaging styles and materials because packaging provides an important lever for acting in an environmentally friendly manner. Paper or recyclable mono-laminates can help create a more sustainable future. However, sustainability is much more than just a trendy term. Companies all over the world strive to minimize their environmental impact and conserve resources. For instance, there are many facets to sustainability in the pharmaceutical industry.
So, what is the best way to include sustainability in pharmaceutical packaging? Here, we will tell you about the best way for pharmaceutical companies to incorporate sustainability into packaging.
First, what is sustainable packaging?
Sustainable packaging can be described as packaging that satisfies all performance, fabrication, and cost requirements while being safe for people and the environment. The item should also be specifically designed to use the least amount of raw materials possible and to maximize energy efficiency. It is important to note that the pharmaceuticals’ process of packaging process is well established, and there are numerous regulatory standards in place for oversight. Recyclable packaging is promoted in one of these rules. Additionally, some producers are working to make packages lighter by using fewer raw materials, which will enable sustainability. The package’s strength shouldn’t be compromised during this process, though, so players are employing a number of cutting-edge design strategies to accomplish this.
Implementing sustainable strategies in pharmaceutical packaging
In order to satisfy the rising sustainability demands, pharmaceuticals must commit to the bigger environmental picture. The growth in sales and customer loyalty that follow make the journey viable, even though this shift probably necessitates initial investments in time and resources.
Today, there is a great deal of room for improvement in the manufacturing processes and practices for pharmaceutical packaging. Sustainability can be approached from a holistic angle, with a focus on the entire supply chain rather than just the natural resources or how the product returns to its life cycle. A technical, social, and environmental practice-focused strategy is necessary for sustainability.
The following key ideas can be used throughout the product development process to ensure environmental, economic, and social sustainability benefits:
- Sustainability Plan: Create a sustainability plan and/or put one into action to evaluate supply chains and manufacturing practices generally. In order to reduce the environmental impact, this process also looks at resource planning and waste reduction. This is done by utilizing new technologies to produce products more quickly and with less energy.
- Efficiency: During the design phase, come up with the packaging that will have the least negative environmental impact while maximizing each supply chain step. Prefilled medication packages, for instance, are advantageous for consumers, pharmacists, and the environment. This kind of packaging ensures that customers receive accurate medication and speeds up pharmacist handling by giving them more time to consult with customers. A rigid, durable outer package also eliminates the need for extra packing materials like corrugated boxes during shipping. This method reduces costs and energy usage throughout the supply chain by combining the secondary and primary packaging steps with the drugs into one procedure at a single location.
- Design: Beginning package development with a more environmentally friendly design provides an opportunity to find ways to cut consumption. Pharmaceutical companies should develop a solution that satisfies demands for manufacturing effectiveness, consumer usability, market relevance, and branding by understanding their customers’ precise needs. Finding the areas where a package can be modified to make it more machine-ready, more efficient, lighter in weight, and structurally sound while maintaining uncompromised protection for products is crucial.
- A more efficient transportation plan: Reduced carbon footprint is a result of efficient transportation. Reduced package weight, the elimination of tertiary packaging, and improved shipping routes and loads can all help to increase efficiency. For instance, blister packs are transported in fully loaded containers that are prepared for immediate dispensing by pharmacists. They can also be stacked, shipped, and stored more effectively than regular amber vials from a structural design standpoint.
- Innovation: New possibilities for more impactful, efficient, and sustainable packaging are emerging as a result of technological and scientific advancements. Applications for smart packaging are among these developments. Throughout the entire package lifecycle, smart manufacturing techniques promote sustainability in healthcare packaging. Examples include applications that can record as well as transmit real-time data or employ light and sound to transmit messages between businesses and their consumers.
New substrates are being used in developments to improve supply chains and design. These innovations enhance patient outcomes, support greater consumer adherence to medication regimens, and promote longer-term wellness. High-density polyethylene fiber, for instance, deters microbial infiltration and works with sterilization methods. By using this fiber to maintain drug sterility, unnecessary drug damage during shipment and storage is reduced. Because of its durability, packaging designs that are recyclable, lightweight, and take up small space are possible.
- Maintaining favorable patient results. Creating packaging that is reliable, secure, and supportive of medication adherence is another aspect of being socially sustainable. According to studies conducted by the pharmaceutical industry, only 50% of American prescription medications are taken as prescribed by doctors. Better care, better results, and improved health are the results of increased patient adherence. The results of effective adherence packaging are favorable for health. Convenience blister packs, for instance, are intended to remind patients to take their medications properly and on time, thereby lowering medication errors and omissions and improving the effectiveness of those medications.
- Use environmentally friendly materials: Companies should use smart manufacturing techniques and eco-friendly materials like recycled paper, corn starch, and cardboard to produce high-quality, sustainable pharmaceutical packaging. Additionally, using fewer colors of ink, unbleached paperboard, and thinner or lighter paper can all help.
- Packaging quantity: The best way to lessen the environmental impact of pharmaceutical packaging is to reduce the amount of packaging used. Additionally, it benefits businesses’ bottom lines by sparing them from the additional production costs associated with excessive packaging.
Sustainability and pharmaceutical packaging can and should work together with the right practices, designs, and technologies. Sustainable results are more likely at all production levels by looking at the entire lifecycle of the packages and collaborating with innovators, designers, and manufacturers.
GPA Global is committed to helping your business develop packaging strategies that will set you apart from the competition. We provide packaging that is genuinely eco-friendly, completely customizable, and in line with the principles of your business. Get in touch with us right away so we can help you create packaging with materials that will give you a competitive advantage.