Moving towards planet-friendly packaging

Moving towards planet-friendly packaging

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.

100% recyclable tape is our goal

As a medicine delivery business, we use a lot of packaging tape. As standard plastic packaging tape is non-recyclable, we’ve already swapped that for self-adhesive paper tape that’s 70% recyclable.

But we’re not stopping there. We’re currently installing gummed tape machines in our pharmacy warehouse. These create tape with a starch-based glue that’s activated by water, making it 100% recyclable.

This is a big financial investment for us. But it’s worth it: we can automate our process and save waste while doing it.

Trading packing peanuts for paper filler

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.

Some plastic is necessary, for now

Getting rid of plastic packaging entirely is our end goal. But removing it from deliveries of fridge medicines, like insulin, is harder.

These medicines need to stay at 2–8°C during their journey to you, ensuring they arrive in perfect condition. To make this happen we use ice packs inside packaging from Woolcool, which contains a naturally insulating wool liner.

Medicines sent this way must be wrapped in bubble wrap to stop the ice packs making the medicine too cold. They’re also put inside a plastic pouch to protect the outer cardboard box from moisture the ice packs create.

Using this plastic isn’t ideal, but our patient’s safety comes first. So while we research other ways to keep medicine cool in transit, we’ll continue to use these small amounts of plastic.

The good news is that Woolcool packaging is 100% recyclable. The wool liner can be reused in smart ways, like as bedding for your cat or insulation for your shed. And it’s biodegradable, so you could even put it on your compost heap.

Woolcool also encourages you to return these wool liners to them as part of their circular economy scheme. Find out more on Woolcool’s website .

Working towards a greener future

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.

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