“The pollution of environment (water, soil and air) with pharmaceutical residuals is an environmental concern. Consumption of human medicines is between 50 to 150 g per person per year in the EU. Veterinary drugs are used in smaller quantities, but pets are a growing segment of the veterinary products market. In the majority of EU Member States, of unused human medicinal products (3 to 8% of the total amounts sold), about 50% is not collected.”
(Source from: www.greenfacts.org)
Within recent years the growing green movement and sustainability have come into focus and also reached the pharmaceutical packaging, one of the industry's most complex sector. There is an increase in using veterinary and human pharmaceuticals and it endangers not just the wildlife but also the humans by drinking tap water. The most existing wastewater treatment systems can't remove medicals like hormones and antidepressants from the wastewater. So if we flush down the drain these unwanted chemicals they can end up in our drinking water.
Day by day several articles pop up about how the humanity pollutes the environment and how the pharma chemicals devastated wildlife populations. For example, one of the most harmful is the death of millions of vultures in Asia caused by vet drug and not to mention the widespread feminisation of male fish caused to hormonal cocktails which got into their territory. So it is essential for the big producers accept the responsibility for their drugs from the time of production till its use.
Brands and companies should consider the following key points in order to establish environmental sustainability:
- Develop a Sustainability Plan: It is including the examination of resource management and waste management to find solutions to limit the environmentally harmful effect. Innovate, find new technologies and resources.
- Use eco-friendly, recyclable or biodegradable materials: The most common materials which are used for this packaging are recycled paper, cardboard, corn starch, cellulose and chitin. Just using fewer ink colors, thinner and unbleached paper can have a postivie impact. Moreover adopting this type of packaging adds a brand value to a product with eco-labels.
- Reduce the quantity of packaging: It is the most effective way to decrease the harmful impact of pharma packaging.
- Innovation: Create new manufacturing procedures and new technologies also support the eco-friendly pharma packiging. For example, in 2014 Schott launched the concept of a ready-to-use-pharmaceutical vial called adaptiQ and they received a really positive feedback from the market. Now the company is ready for the commercial launch. The adaptiQ enables a new era of cutting edge manufacturing. The main advantage of this product is that the companies can fill the vials immediately and steps like washing,drying, sterilizaton, freeze-dying, weighing and closing are not necessary anymore.
"With adaptiQ, up to 100 sterile and prefillable vials can be securely fixed inside a single nest. Each vial is securely held in place at the neck by three clips. The vials thus survive the manufacturing process on the filling line without coming into contact with one another. This prevents scratches and breakage and consequently lowers the reject rate, a crucial aspect for pharmaceutical companies."(Source from: www.manufacturingchemist.com)
As you can see the pharma companies have to realize the growing necessity of the sustainability and eco-friendly packiging. The packaging material has to be recyclable or biodegradable. It is a difficult task to create a green pharma packaging, but also preserve and not to compromise on a package's safety or accessibility. It requires innovation, further investments in resources and also in time, but if you understand the trends, you can adapt to them and the result could be easily seen in the increase of customer loyalty and sales numbers.