Life cycle impacts and environmental fate of pharmaceuticals: Examining the life cycle

Packaging

Reduction in volume of materials used and a move to more sustainable packaging materials could greatly improve the environmental credentials of pharmaceutical products. Reducing the size of a tablet, reducing the space between pills in a blister pack and reconsidering the materials used for packaging can have dramatic effects on both environmental and economic costs.  As an example, below are the savings achieved with packaging improvements across 20 projects within Novartis between 2008 and 2012:[1]

  • Cost – USD 2.7 million;
  • Materials – 572 tonnes of carton/plastic/metals;
  • GHG emissions – more than 133 tonnes CO2e;
  • Other – 30% weight reduction, reduced storage space requirements, shorter lead time, lower work load, less waste.
  1. Environmental Sustainability at Novartis (Last accessed: April, 2016).