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3B Solstar Nucifera A Slice of Green A Warne AB Packaging Abaca Packaging Ah! Table! Algalife Algopack Algotek All 4 Labels Allied Glass Amipak Amphorea Amy Jade Creations Ardagh Group Ardalanish Arjowiggins Astu Eco AVANI BagasseWare Baker Labels Bakergoodchild Ball Bambu BASF Beatson Clark Best Practice Packaging LLC. Better Packaging Billerwkorsnas Bio Bag UK Bio Viron Bio4Life Bio4Pack BIOFASE Biome Plastics Biopac Biopak Biopap BioTAK Biotec Biotrem Butterfly Cup Bysshe CamVac Carapac Carters Packaging Cartulinas CMPC Celanese Cellcomb Chapelton Board CKF Clondalkin Coburger Cocccon Cocoform Cocolok Coconutbowls Coir Lanka Cole Fabrics Colombier Colourform Colpac Columbia Pulp Comp Bio COSIBRA Cotton Barons Coveris Covim Creapaper Crown Holdings Croxsons Glass Cullen Cupffee Cygnus Eco Danimer Scientific Dans Le Sac Decent Packaging Delipac Dempson Direct Packaging Ltd Do Eat Do Your Bit Down2Earth DUNI Earth Distributors Earth Friendly Foodware Earthable ® Earths Tribe East Kent Cartons East Yorkshire Hemp Eco Safe Eco Tensil Ecofoil Ecological Textiles Ecomenu Ecomojiware Ecotainer Ecovaganza Ecovative Elevate Packaging ElPack Emerald City Enviro Textiles Enviropack Enviropak Envopap Ethical Ernie Evesham EVLON Evoware Fabri-Kal FF Packaging Fibre Bio Fibre Form Fibrepak Fiesta Green Fleet Luxury Flexi-Hex Floreon Fold-Pak Footprint Four Eco Foxpak Friendlypak Frusack Futamura Gaia Biomaterials Good Life Grado Zero Innovation Graphic Packaging Green Cell Green Gate Green Sax Greenman Packaging HAVI Healthy Eco Hemp Black, Inc Hemp Fabric Lab Hemporium Herbal Fab Himalayan Wild Fibres Hugh Jordan Huhtamaki Hunter Luxury Huski Home Huskup I2R Iggesund InkReadible International Paper James Cropper Jardin Corrugated Jars Direct Jelld Packaging Jerry Just Straw KANEKA Karmic Seed KeCo KINYI Kotkamills Lactips Lean Orb Lenzing Libeco LignoPure Little Cherry Little Green Panda Loliware London Bio Packaging Magic Film Magnum Packaging Maibao Maistic Make Grow Lab Malai Marinatex Marleys Monsters Massilly UK Ltd Masteroast Metsa Board Mirum Monadnock Mushroom Packaging My Element Myco Works National Flexible Natur Tec Nature & My Nature Works (Ingeo) Natureflex Naturesse NEFFA Nettle Fibre Company noissue NOTPLA Novamont Nutscene O Eco Textiles O-I Glass Offset Offset Warehouse OOMPH! Orange Fibre Organic Silks ORGANOID Packhelp Pactiv Panda Packaging Paper Pulp Solutions Paper Straw People Paper Straws GB PaperFoam PaperWise Paptic Parkside Pattesons Glass Ltd Pick Natural Pinatex Planglow Plant Made Bottles Plastiroll (Bioska) Polybags Precious Planet Priory Press Ptt MCC Biochem Pulp2Pack PURE Labels QMilk Quintessential Ranpak RawPac RBECO Reel Brands Repaq ReSpiin Riji KCC SABERT Samatoa Lotus Textiles Sana Packaging Sappi SBKG Scitech Seaman Paper Seidentraum SFI Tanzania Shredhouse Ltd Simplifi Fabric Sirane SmartSolve SMC Smurfkit Kappa Solublue Soul Bottles Southern Cross Packaging Spear Coco Spinnova Starlight Sticky Labels Stolzle Glass Group Stora Enso Storopack Sun Packaging Sunkea Surepak Suzano Swanline Taghleef Industries Tea Direct Terracaps Tessile Eco Bio Test Valley The Cloth House The Great British Paper Straw Company The Hemp Shop The Jute Shop The Wheat Straws Company Thought Threads of Peru Tinplate Tinware Direct TIPA Total Papers Trama Textiles Transcend Packaging Transpack Tri-Star Tulsack Turtle Bags Tyler Packaging UB Pack USO Bio VEGEA Vegware Viscose Visican Voidfill VPZ Walki Westfield Thermoform Whole Packs Wild Fibres Wild Silk Markets Wilkins Wool Cool YRG Group Yuggen Zeoform Zest Packaging ZS Fabrics
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3B Solstar A Slice of Green A Warne AB Packaging Ah! Table! Algalife Algopack Allied Glass Amipak Amphorea Ardagh Group Ardalanish Arjowiggins Baker Labels Bakergoodchild Ball BASF Beatson Clark Billerwkorsnas Bio Bag UK Bio Viron Bio4Life Bio4Pack BIOFASE Biome Plastics Biopac Biopap BioTAK Biotec Biotrem Butterfly Cup Bysshe CamVac Carters Packaging Cellcomb Chapelton Board CKF Clondalkin Coburger Cocccon Cocoform Cocolok Coconutbowls Cole Fabrics Colourform Colpac Comp Bio Cotton Barons Covim Creapaper Cullen Cupffee Cygnus Eco Delipac Dempson Direct Packaging Ltd Do Eat Do Your Bit Down2Earth DUNI Earth Friendly Foodware East Kent Cartons East Yorkshire Hemp Ecofoil Ecological Textiles Ecomenu Ecovaganza ElPack Enviropack Enviropak Ethical Ernie Evesham FF Packaging Fibre Bio Fibre Form Fibrepak Fiesta Green Fleet Luxury Flexi-Hex Floreon Four Eco Foxpak Frusack Gaia Biomaterials Good Life Grado Zero Innovation Green Cell Green Gate Green Sax Greenman Packaging HAVI Hugh Jordan Huhtamaki Hunter Luxury Huski Home Huskup I2R Iggesund InkReadible James Cropper Jardin Corrugated Jars Direct Jelld Packaging Jerry Just Straw KeCo Kotkamills Lactips Lenzing Libeco LignoPure Little Cherry London Bio Packaging Magnum Packaging Maistic Make Grow Lab Marinatex Massilly UK Ltd Masteroast Metsa Board My Element National Flexible Nature & My Natureflex Naturesse NEFFA Nettle Fibre Company NOTPLA Novamont Nutscene O Eco Textiles O-I Glass Offset Offset Warehouse OOMPH! Orange Fibre Organic Silks ORGANOID Packhelp Panda Packaging Paper Pulp Solutions Paper Straw People PaperFoam PaperWise Paptic Parkside Pattesons Glass Ltd Pinatex Planglow Plant Made Bottles Plastiroll (Bioska) Polybags Precious Planet Priory Press QMilk Quintessential RawPac RBECO Reel Brands Repaq ReSpiin Riji KCC SABERT Scitech Shredhouse Ltd Sirane SMC Smurfkit Kappa Solublue Soul Bottles Southern Cross Packaging Spinnova Starlight Sticky Labels Stolzle Glass Group Stora Enso Storopack Sun Packaging Surepak Swanline Tea Direct Terracaps Tessile Eco Bio Test Valley The Cloth House The Hemp Shop The Wheat Straws Company Tinplate Tinware Direct Transcend Packaging Transpack Tri-Star Turtle Bags Tyler Packaging USO Bio VEGEA Vegware Viscose Visican Voidfill VPZ Westfield Thermoform Whole Packs Wild Fibres Wilkins Wool Cool YRG Group Yuggen Zest Packaging
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“The whole focus of the world has been on the elimination of plastics, then came COVID-19 and put the whammy on everything that we were doing right,” states Janet Carlson, CEO and Creative Director for Copy, One Eleven Group. Take a stroll through any major city, town, or even the countryside, and you will likely stumble across scenes of single-use face masks blighting outdoor landscapes. Dr Dorota Napierska, Chemicals Policy & Projects Officer, Health Care Without Harm Europe, warns against what is likely to evolve into a major environmental issue: “The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously had a tremendous impact on the waste sector. The volume of medical waste is rising steadily and this is linked to growing populations and an increase in patients, but crucially, the healthcare sector has also become more and more reliant on single-use items and products with a lot of packaging.”

It is imperative that we do not revert to bad habits and we must keep reminding ourselves of the incredible strides we have taken in adopting innovative and sustainable alternatives over the past few years. Our reliance on and addiction to plastic is by no means an incurable disease. Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder, A Plastic Planet, urges pharma to “turn off the plastic tap and embrace ingenious alternatives”. She goes on to say: “The pandemic has also brought out the best in some of the world’s most innovative companies. We were proud this year to work with packaging designers, Reelbrands and Tams Packaging, to develop plastic-free visors to protect frontline workers without adding to plastic pollution.” Although pharmaceutical companies might not be manufacturers of PPE, Napierska reminds us that “[they] are users of PPE and can demand manufacturers to provide them with more durable, reusable, and sustainable products, and encourage them to innovate and pilot safer and more environmentally friendly solutions, free from hazardous chemicals.”

Every challenge brings with it the chance for innovation as well as real, quantifiable change. This is especially true for juggernaut industries like pharma, with Carlson advising that corporations “find a company to partner with who can take your waste and make something great out of it. We all have to look for opportunities to not only be responsible but to help grow the economy and support entrepreneurs too.”

As is the case with any collective effort, clarity and consistency of information cannot be understated. By now we are all aware of the dangers of plastic, but education around the proper disposal of PPE can certainly be improved, emphasising the relationship between human and planetary health more explicitly. Sutherland emphasises that PPE “needs to be treated as waste as it is not recyclable or biodegradable, but this has not been properly communicated and it has led to disastrous consequences. If 1% of masks are disposed of incorrectly, approximately 10 million will end up in the natural environment every month.” Pharma can assume a greater role in encouraging hospitals, patients, physicians, and the general public to opt for more sustainable and environmentally conscious decisions when it comes to PPE. “Whilst PPE is essential for the protection of health workers and patients, the general population can consider alternative solutions such as reusable face masks and avoiding using gloves in public spaces to limit the burden on Earth’s resources and environment,” suggests Napierska.

In times of crisis when priorities are understandably being reshuffled, it is easy to fall off the wagon and back into old habitual behaviours, but the industry cannot afford to throw to waste all the progressive work we have set in motion. Through embracing innovative, sustainable alternatives at every level and by engaging in this conversation publicly and honestly, we can all pause, correct our behaviours, and put sustainability back in the front seat. If we can strike a balance between protecting ourselves and the planet, we will all reap the rewards in the years to come.