Putting the Focus on Environmental Sustainability of Medical Packaging

Posted on: 19/08/2021
Equipment for the packaging and sterilization of medical instruments

Find out about KTN's workshop on 29th June, which examined how to make packaging for medical products more sustainable.

KTN chaired a discussion on 29th June to explore the challenges associated with making packaging for medical and medicinal products more sustainable. We also wanted to highlight the business-led R&D funding opportunity through the ISCF Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge, which may be a useful instrument to develop sustainable packaging projects. 

To determine where the common issues lie in medical packaging and to define drivers, challenges and opportunities for collective action and collaboration, we gathered a group of subject matter experts from: pharma, OTC and medical device manufacturing sectors; packaging suppliers; packaging & materials developers/researchers; recycling experts/systems providers; and NHS sustainability leaders.

Introducing the workshop, Andy Evans, VP Clinical Manufacturing and Supply at AstraZeneca, and Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership Chair, said “Sustainability is a huge topic of interest for pharmaceutical companies. The sheer quantity of materials that flows through pharmaceutical packaging presents a huge opportunity”.

The discussion was chaired by Greg Anderson*, independent consultant at Pharmacentric Solutions, and former Head of Technical Packaging at GSK. Greg said “I am genuinely passionate about generating solutions for medical packaging, with patient safety at the centre of this. The government (and this includes the NHS) are challenging all partners with targets for CO2e reduction to enable a future net zero target. We are also facing new regulatory and fiscal pressures, as well as expectations from consumers and patients. Ultimately, the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors have a corporate social responsibility to reduce waste and materials. We need to work together with suppliers to understand and agree aligned solutions to sustainability challenges, and we can learn from other industries to help achieve our strategic objectives”.

The workshop discussion will form part of ongoing strategic activities within KTN, Innovate UK, Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), ABPI and associated groups to shape forward planning for sustainability policy and funding for the life sciences. 

Get in touch with the KTN Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Community if you are interested, or contact Karen Wilkinson.


*Greg founded Pharmacentric Solutions Ltd in 2017 to deliver consultancy services for the Pharma Industry. Prior to this Gregor was Senior Design Director at GSK working as a device and packaging specialist and has over 30 years’ experience in Pharma and Medical Device design and is a named inventor on over 50 patents. He has presented widely on topics such as digital, sustainability, patient centric design and Pharma road mapping. He authored the UK Pharma road map for the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership in 2017. He has a B.Sc. in Industrial Design and a M.Sc. in Polymer Science and Engineering. Greg can be contacted here.

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Karen Wilkinson

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Related programme

Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Community

Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Community

A now-completed programme that supported manufacturers of medicines in order to grow the UK economy – replaced by the Medicines Manufacturing programme.


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