Sustainable Packaging Future Needs A More Holistic Push

When we talk of modern healthcare, pharmaceutical packaging remains an unsung hero. It plays a crucial role when it comes to preserving the integrity of medicines that are essential in nature and also otherwise. The sector has long turned to plastic for this purpose due to its qualities such as durability and chemical inertness.

But the world is now going through a shift in how plastic is perceived. Due to the growing concerns of plastic waste, stringent environmental regulations, and evolving public attitudes, the pharmaceutical sector is witnessing massive pressure to search for sustainable packaging solutions that sync with its bent for patient health.

Why not take an absolute approach in order to create a packaging future that’s more sustainable?

Pre-Consumer Regrind- PCR usage within the pharmaceutical packaging goes on to offer the stakeholders great amounts of opportunity so that their sustainability objectives can be achieved.

When we talk about a holistic approach towards sustainability, it begins with materials being selected on the basis of how much impact they happen to have on the environment and also how seamlessly they can get reused or even recycled into new products with as little waste as possible. All this must be taken into consideration from the very beginning.

In terms of addressing the shortage of PCR, the pharmaceutical industry has a role to play. It also has a say in supporting a pipeline for future use as well as the production of PCR-derived packaging. The packaging pertaining to pharmaceuticals is recyclable through many instances; however, the communication on where and how to go ahead and recycle medicine packaging goes on to remain limited.

It is worth noting that raising the awareness in this area will go on to promote the right recycling of pharmaceutical packaging, thereby bolstering the supply when it comes to PCR and, in turn, promoting the manufacture as well as the usage of PCR products throughout the industry.

A further commitment to sustainability is demonstrated by the stakeholder investment and participation when it comes to recycling programs, which goes on to present a positively enhancing consumer sentiment towards the sector.

The fact is that the pharmaceutical sector can indeed clean up its act by way of following a cyclical design process that factors sustainability into the design all throughout, thereby minimizing material waste and product weight. This, in turn, reduces the carbon footprint of products, hence prioritizing efficiency when it comes to production and consistently taking part when it comes to supporting the research and development initiatives.

Bio-based packaging has come to play, with innovation giving way to it. No wonder it is addressed as the new age of packaging. In 2022, the bio-based packaging market was valued at USD 7.92 billion; however, it has been predicted that between 2023 and 2032, the segment is going to have a CAGR of 12.5%, thereby reaching USD 25.86 billion value.

The products pertaining to bio-based packaging are manufactured using plant-based materials called polylactic acid- PLA, polyhydroxyalkanoates- PHA and also molded biodegradable pulp like sugarcane pulp. But on balance, it is quite significant to realize that bio-based packaging shouldn’t be considered as a silver bullet to the packaging pollution crisis that we are witnessing today.

Through bio-based packaging gets derived from renewable biomass like plants and not fossil raw materials, it does not assure their biodegradability or composability. Unless and until it is certified as home compostable, bio-based packaging needs specific conditions within the industrial composting plants to biodegrade. The point is that they cannot be composted at home.

As a matter of fact, the resulting consumer mismanagement when it comes to bio-based packaging waste creates a steep hill to climb.

Through working in tandem with regulatory bodies, pharmaceutical companies can go on to navigate intricacies when it comes to sustainable packaging while at the same time also upholding patient safety benchmarks. Due to this, there is a win-win scenario, in which PCR can go on to become a catalyst for change, therefore lessening the plastic waste and also reducing impact on the environmental impact while at the same time also maintaining the vital medicines’ integrity.

There is still a long way to go, with every solution having its own unique set of challenges, rising commitment, and ongoing investment when it comes to sustainability research, goes on to mean a future that has a cleaner pharmaceutical packaging industry.