Every year 270 million tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans, thus the importance of finding eco-friendly packaging solutions. At the moment there’s an 8th continent made entirely of plastic with a surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers and is projected to grow 22% by 2025. The majority of waste in landfills and oceans comes from the packaging industry. Therefore making an eco-responsible choice should be a high priority. Unfortunately, most options that claim to be eco-responsible are not so and caution must be taken when one is choosing their packaging.
Not all manufacturers are the same and greenwashing practices are being utilized with the purpose of gaining greater market share.
How to Determine if an eco-friendly packaging solution really is eco-responsible?
Is a biodegradable plastic an eco-friendly packaging solution? Not necessarily… When a biodegradable plastic ends up in a recycling facility it is considered a contaminant to other plastics. Biodegradable plastics were designed to degrade in optimal landfill conditions and cannot be recycled. Even when they do end up in the landfill, the optimal conditions for adequate degradation are rarely met. The same goes for compostable materials. They are considered grave contaminants in the recycling process. Compostable materials also face the same challenges as biodegradable plastics when it comes to optimal conditions for proper degradation.
The use of biodegradable or compostable materials is not the solution to the over packaging problem we are facing. If the appropriate infrastructure is not put into place, it is virtually impossible for these materials to biodegrade.
What is an eco-friendly packaging solution?
An eco-friendly packaging solution is packaging that is made with the least material possible and with end-of-life that can be easily determined. This challenge feeds the EcoloPharm research and development team. In designing a product that is made with 30% less plastic compared to similar products on the market, we’re assured less plastic to manage at the end-of-life. And the very fact that our products are made with a single material ensures 100% recyclability. By manufacturing all products at our own plant in Quebec with an energy efficient process, we ensure that we do not place the burden only on recyclability.
For packaging to be considered an eco-friendly packaging solution we must not only focus on biodegradable or compostable. Efficient eco-conception delves much deeper evaluating the environmental weight of the entire production process. Without this, we cede all responsibility to recycling facilities without questioning ourselves on “how can we improve everything that comes before the end-of-life of our products”.
Our core mission : offering the most eco-friendly packaging solutions
Proud partner of 3500 eco-conscious pharmacists, EcoloPharm first developed packaging solutions for the dispensing of medication and has become a canadian leader in sustainable develpment.
Ecodesign is the consideration and integration of all the environmental criteria necessary for the design of a product.
From the ideation phase of our products, and throughout their life cycle, we make sure we have the lowest environmental impact possible. From raw material extraction, product manufacturing and end-of-life, to distribution, use and recycling.
Do you want to know more? Check out our eco-design page
These concepts are important to us and we are working with partners to develop comprehensive programs.
Imagine how great it would be if everyone could bring back their medication vials to their pharmacy and avoid placing them in curbside recycling altogether?
In Canada, curbside recycling makes life easier for citizens by allowing them to throw various recyclables into one single bin. By the same token, there are many kinds of materials such as plastics that are found in recycling bins (e.g., HDPE from shampoo bottles, PET from soft drink bottles or PP from an Ecolo Vial).
Once at the recycler, things get complicated. The diversity of mixed plastics creates a sorting problem and complicates the recycling process.
More often than not, the recycling center is not able to separate different types of plastics from each other and many remain mixed. The result is a plastic bundle of several types of plastic with different chemical compositions and cannot be used for the same products. This has the effect of reducing the quality of the recycled plastic bundle and lowering its resale value.
We would like to bypass the selective collection and eliminate the various contaminants (plastic or other). For example, recycling centers that receive our vials directly would obtain a contaminant-free material that is easily recyclable and has an attractive resale price. Then companies that buy the plastic bundles would, in turn, get premium and unadulterated materials that can be easily recycled.
We are working hard on making this project a possibility!
If I really want to be eco-friendly, can I bring my eco-friendly vials back to the pharmacy for a refill?
This is a legitimate concern. However, there may be cross-contamination between some medications and it is not advised to bring back any medication vial for refilling.
Our vials are fully recyclable and once reconditioned will benefit other manufacturers.