Sustainability has become a priority for many companies throughout the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Pat Bartholomew, Director, Environment, Health and Safety, at Baxter, tells PMP News: “Product environmental performance is an issue of growing importance in the healthcare sector, including the responsible treatment of healthcare products at the end of their useful life. Because the appropriate approach varies by type of product, companies can have a range of initiatives.
We’ve been covering sustainability and all the other terms often used to describe environmental stewardship for nearly 20 years. In our November 1994 article “New Environmental Strategy Includes Common Sense,” Melissa Larson described the Flexible Packaging Association’s then-new slogan, “Source reduction—less waste in the first place.” She described the era’s Healthcare Resource Conservation Coalition (HRCC), which advocated for monolayer packaging materials and hospital recycling programs to reduce hospital waste.
Discussions about sustainability seem to be taking place pretty regularly at pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing companies. “That which is driving interest in our industry is the same as for other industries: a broader awareness that we must do more to protect our environment and that commercial industries can have the strongest impact on this agenda,” explains Daryl Madeira, vice president of sales and marketing for Quality Packaging Specialists International (QPSI).
Perfecseal, a manufacturer of packaging materials used for sterile barrier systems for medical devices, has joined the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC). HPRC seeks to encourage plastics recycling in healthcare delivery environments.
MeadWestvaco Corp. reports that it has received Walmart’s "Responsibility Award for Total Health and Wellness” for the development of Shellpak Renew. Designed to promote patient medication adherence, Shellpak Renew is 40 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than the original Shellpak, and it eliminates the use of plastic, MWV reports in a press release.
One package is making quite an impact, for lessening its environmental impact. The CardioFocus HeartLight Cardiac Ablation System Balloon Catheter Die-Cut Tray manufactured by Beacon Converters Inc. has been honored with two awards from the Flexible Packaging Association during its annual meeting and awards ceremony held in Naples, FL, on February 26, 2013. The die-cut tray has received FPA's Gold Award for Environmental and Sustainability Achievement and its Gold Award for Technical Innovation.
Axios Mobile Assets Corp. has gained approval from VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) for the adoption of the industry’s first Light Weight Pallet Methodology to track and retire carbon units. According to Axios, companies can employ this methodology to earn carbon credits to offset carbon footprints as they transport goods throughout the supply chain. Axios reports that it is the first, and only, company in the world to receive VCS approval for this methodology within the Transport Energy Efficiency from Lightweight Pallets category.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has recognized global packaging provider Amcor Ltd. with a 2012 Supplier Sustainability Award. Amcor Rigid Plastics and Amcor Flexibles were both recognized for their overall sustainability efforts as well as their roles as suppliers to J&J. One of 43 nominated suppliers in J&J's worldwide competition, Amcor was one of seven award winners.
Having kicked off a recycling program in May 2012, Almac has increased the amount of waste it recycles from 19% to 70%, the company reports. Almac’s program is saving the company £6,000 per month. The company employs more than 3300 individuals and is headquartered in Craigavon, Northern Ireland, where the initiative has been implemented. U.S. operations are based in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and California.