Photo by Klára Vernarcová via Unsplash
Like lots of the business world, we’re increasingly aware of the need to be environmentally sustainable. And the feedback we get from our patients shows that you are, too.
So we’ve listened to your feedback. We’ve created the new position of Sustainability Lead (hi, that’s me!) and we’re already working on reducing our impact on the environment.
What’s the first thing on our list? Making sure our packaging is environmentally friendly. Here’s how we’re doing it.
As a medicine delivery business, we use a lot of packaging tape. Because standard plastic packaging tape is non-recyclable, phasing it out was the first step I took towards making our packaging more environmentally friendly.
Initially, we moved to self-adhesive paper tape. Unlike the plastic tape, this could go into the recycling bin with the box. But as the adhesive would need to be soaked off and put into general waste during the recycling process, it was still only 70% recyclable. I knew we could do more than this, so my research continued.
Soon, we found an even better solution: gummed tape machines that produce 100% recyclable tape. The machines produce pre-set lengths of tape with a starch-based adhesive, which is activated by water. The adhesive binds with the top layer of the cardboard, and is reinforced with fibres, meaning it’s super strong.
This new addition to our packaging prevents tampering, speeds up our processing time, and looks after the planet. So everyone’s a winner!
Bubble wrap is another big culprit for plastic in packaging. That’s why we’re now wrapping our glass medicine bottles in 100% recycled paper instead.
Before we moved to paper filler, we used packing peanuts alongside bubble wrap. Being made from cornstarch, these peanuts were fully biodegradable. They could even dissolve in water (cool, right?).
But these packaging peanuts looked deceptively like plastic, so lots of our eco-minded patients questioned why we used them. What’s more, they take up more space on delivery lorries than paper filler, meaning their carbon footprint is higher.
So 100% recycled paper filler was the clear winner over bubble wrap and packing peanuts. It’s more eco-friendly to obtain, and it’s more easily recognised as being recyclable.
All the cardboard and paper in our packaging is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. They ensure trees needed for products and packaging are sourced responsibly, with as little impact to biodiversity as possible.
We chose our cardboard and paper packaging suppliers, Reedbut and Swiftpak, based on their environmental values. Swiftpak recently just gained B-Corporation status, which means they meet rigorous social and environmental standards.
Now we’re able to focus more closely on sustainability, we want to tackle more than just boxes and packaging. Our goal is to become as sustainable as we can through changes to all our materials and processes.
We’ve got many exciting plans for the future, and we’re looking forward to sharing them with you soon. But for now, let’s all do our bit and reduce, reuse, recycle.