Sustainability: The Drum Beat is Getting Louder
April 20, 2022
For the last ten years, I have had the privilege of guest lecturing at Michigan State University’s School of Packaging. Every semester I get to meet a new group of students and provide education on the healthcare packaging industry in their Packaging 102: Packaging Seminar class. Recently, I reflected on a trend that has been reoccurring over the last few years. Not a single lecture ends without a student asking about sustainability initiatives and how our industry is supporting this important topic. Lately, this has made me realize that the changemakers are coming!
Advanced Recycling Conversations Start Here
March 28, 2022
Increasing sustainability throughout medical product development and packaging processes can feel like attempting to climb Mt. Everest in a pair of sneakers. Our industry is dominated by “one-of-a-kinds.” Our material requirements are demanding, often unusual, and stringent. Our end users are patients, thus safety and sterility are the highest priority. These facts rule out many renewables emerging for other consumer product producers.
Keeping Sustainability in Focus
March 14, 2022
Women’s History Month Reflection: Growing up in India in the 90s, there were several formative experiences that come to mind: economic liberalization (neighborhoods that watched TV together could now afford one in each house), acute water crisis (my mother would ration our showers) and the Kargil War (as a teenager, it got me to pay attention to the news). Given I chose to work for a company that enables electronics and communication, water solutions and industry leading products that keep frontline workers and patients safe, it does appear that life progresses towards circularity.
Diagnostic Testing from the Comfort of Your Home
March 1, 2022
One of the main trends that has emerged recently in the diagnostics industry is a shift for simple testing—from a doctor’s office or lab to the home. While in-home testing existed before the COVID-19 pandemic (think pregnancy, allergy, and DNA tests), people have become much more comfortable checking their health status from a box, while conveniently sitting in their own home. No longer are people afraid of performing a finger prick, or nasal or saliva swab. Our desire to know “for sure” brought home-use test kits to the forefront of family life everywhere. Soon, we realized the convenience of at-your-fingertips, self-administered tests, and most importantly, the valuable health information they delivered.
The “You” in Sustainability
November 15, 2021
Over the last couple decades, the world has been gradually confronted with the stark reality that many of our habits are wreaking havoc on the natural environment. We saw the haze of air pollution, and waves of oceans filled with plastics. Now that the bleak outlook of unmanaged consumption has started to sink in, it’s time to get creative. It’s time for all manufacturing sectors to rethink and retool what we make, how we make it, and how to do it more sustainably.
Sustainability in Healthcare Packaging: A Grassroots Effort
September 22, 2021
Last month during MDM West, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Kiley Djupstrom (Plastic Ingenuity) and Jennifer Benolken (DuPont) in a moderated session on sustainability in medical packaging. Kiley and I lead a team of industry professionals as part of the Kilmer Innovations in Packaging group focused on sustainability. Our goal: Make progress in sustainability of healthcare packaging. This is no easy feat, but the goal is progress, and we have a team of passionate individuals across the value chain who are committed to showing up and doing the work.
One Doctor’s Request for Sustainable Change in Asia
September 14, 2021
152 kilograms. 4500 tonnes. 134 hectares. No matter how you say it, it’s not positive or sustainable. These numbers reflect the amount of medical waste from just one surgery, in a study from four hospitals over three months in New Zealand. 152 kilograms is equivalent to the weight of an empty refrigerator, a small piano, and even a baby elephant! Let that sink in. Perhaps even more alarming is the fact this is just a small percentage of the medical waste generated in New Zealand and a drop in the bucket of the medical waste collected around the world each year.
Takeda’s Manufacturing Leader on Dealing with Climate Change
May 19, 2021
Whether your company is all-in, looking the other way, or waiting to follow, addressing climate change in your supply chain management model is no longer a vague notion or cheap buzzword. A proactive approach now can help circumvent crisis mode later.
Material Science: A Game Changer for a More Sustainable Future?
April 12, 2021
As Bob Dylan once said … The Times, They Are A-Changin’. This year, though, that was even more true than ever before. Navigating the global pandemic, while simultaneously implementing EU MDR, made us all feel like the world was upside down. Slowly but surely, we are getting back to some semblance of normal, but there are some learnings we can take into the future with us.
Behind the Scenes of Our Nurses Speak Up Video Series
November 16, 2020
Recently, I had the pleasure of virtually interviewing five operating room scrub nurses. I interviewed them as a part of our new video series, PackTalk: Nurses Speak Up. The goal of these interviews was to get real, honest feedback from healthcare professionals who open medical packaging every day. And that is exactly what we got!
Can Packaging Postponement Find Its Way into the Medical Device Market?
October 7, 2020
As we all adjust to the "new normal" brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many medical device companies are doing the same. The downturn in elective medical and surgical procedures has upended our businesses. This begs several questions.
New Nylon Opens Door for Companies Looking to Upgrade Packaging
June 30, 2020
To our readers … you know by now that we never push our product through PackTalk. In this blog, we aim to educate & inspire, and ultimately start a discussion. But we’re breaking our own rule for this article. The healthcare industry is conservative (rightfully so—in healthcare, lives are impacted). But with that said, we get excited when we see innovation in the industry, whether it comes from Oliver or someone else.
The Quest for Sustainability
April 30, 2020
I don’t eat meat every day of the week, but when I do buy meat, I check to see where it originated. When it is local in origin, I am more likely to buy it. I avoid going to the greengrocer for produce during January. If I find salsify, I won’t buy it outside of salsify season. I spend more money on my jeans than I used to, as I now buy a local brand. My point in sharing my shopping habits is simple: I try to think before I buy, and I try to be conscious about what effect my purchase has on the environment, when it is possible.
Innovation & Sustainability in a Challenging Environment
April 15, 2020
The healthcare packaging industry knows that recycling and reuse can be tricky to synergize with sterility and human medicine and that’s okay. We are always up for a good challenge.
Will the Coronavirus Halt Initiatives for Sustainable Packaging?
April 3, 2020
With people on high alert due to potential virus-spreading and cities all over the world implementing and/or rewarding the use of reusable packaging; will the trend toward sustainable packaging subside? This is an unprecedented time. While countries are doing all they can to minimize the spread, there is no doubt that our collective cultures will be changed by the impact of this pandemic.
Looking Ahead: The Future is Flexible
February 28, 2020
Recently, China decided to ban imports of foreign recyclable material. At the same time, the EU is waging its own war against plastic waste. As a result of these major initiatives, manufacturers from all industries have started to feel the pressure to create more sustainable solutions. Among suppliers of plastics, the packaging industry is on the frontline to introduce innovations and smarter design alternatives that reduce plastic output. The EU has set a goal to make all packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030 (Boffey, 2018). It is noteworthy to mention that the recycling of any plastic is challenging and requires a good infrastructure. As the EU is pushing for a “circular economy” and China investing in more plastic recycling infrastructure, all global partners should be laying their own groundwork for sustainable plastics practices.
Is One-off Packaging Our Future?
December 10, 2019
Emerging standards of care increasingly focus on personalized treatment, even to the level of a single patient at a time. Genetic traits and other uniquely individual factors are becoming the foundation for disease management. These advancements present new challenges and layers of complexity to formulation, packaging, labeling, distribution channels and patient safety for drugmakers—and the packaging of those drugs.
Have we also mentioned the growing push for sustainable packaging practices?
4 (and a half) Packaging Trends from Compamed 2019
December 5, 2019
Last week, I joined Oliver’s European team in Dusseldorf for Compamed 2019. The show is one of our largest of the year and is a subset of a greater exhibition called Medica. For me, a show this big is almost TOO big. But with that said, it was still interesting to walk the 17(!) different halls to decipher the latest trends in healthcare. Between the 25,000 steps walked, here were 4 trends that stood out to me: