Concern over environmental pollution and plastic pollution in pharmacy is on the rise. Several initiatives are being put in place to reduce environmental impact in grocery stores considering the over packaging of food is largely condemned. We must go further and challenge all industries including that of pharmacy.
Taking into account millions of weekly flyers, the over-packaging of cosmetics and various single-use packaging for medication, pharmacies are not exempt from being polluters and generate substantial amounts of residual waste. Fortunately, there are solutions to reduce plastic pollution in pharmacies.
A necessary reflection for pharmacies
Every year in Canada, 250 million prescriptions are filled and dispensed in packaging that is not eco-friendly. More than 6,000 tons of plastic and carton waste in recycling bins can be fully attributed to the disposal of prescription packaging. Plastic pollution in pharmacy is tremendous.
Like all single-use packaging, the problem with prescription packaging must be addressed quickly and effectively. The recyclability of items is no longer a sustainable solution considering 270,000 tons of plastic that are entirely recyclable ends up in the ocean.
We must consider and reflect on the entire life cycle of a product and not concentrate only on end-of-life management. Choosing eco-designed products that take into account all factors: from the sourcing of raw materials to the lowest energy consumption during manufacturing and ending with the most adequate end-of-life management. These efforts are where industries must be orienteering themselves towards if they wish to be eco-responsible and sustainable.
The solution to plastic pollution
The number of environmentally conscious pharmacists is increasing. By choosing products that are eco-designed, pharmacies can reduce their carbon footprint and ensure the adoption of a sustainable solution.
Ten years ago, EcoloPharm first developed packaging solutions for the dispensing of medication. We emphasized on procuring our raw materials locally and designing products that allowed for a 30% reduction in plastic consumption. Thanks to our streamlined manufacturing process, we save energy and have eliminated the need for plastic bags.
Our packaging solutions are eco-friendly as they are sustainable. Combating plastic pollution in the pharmacy sector must begin with the elimination of weekly flyers, plastic bags and making an eco-friendly choice when it comes to packaging medication. Health Canada has imposed that medications must be dispensed in single-use packaging therefore when eco-friendly alternatives already exist, they can have an enormous impact on the environment.
Every year EcoloPharm safeguards against 250 tons of plastic, 820 000 kW of electricity and 41 tons of carton also preventing 13 tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) from being emitted into the atmosphere. This is the power of eco-conception.
Did you know?
- Plastic pollution from pharmacies that ends up in the environment can take up to 1000 years to disintegrate.
- Biodegradation of a plastic bag takes up to 450 years.
Transition is simple and easy! We have several tools that facilitate a smooth transfer and encourage you to engage patients!
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!
The only valid option today is plastic, regardless of the supplier and of the pharmacy.
Thanks to our eco-friendly design, we are happy to offer the most eco-friendly vial on the market: Requiring the least amount of plastic and generating the least amount of CO2.
Our vials are also fully recyclable