“Foundation for Growth” is one of the five reforms under “TOP I 2030”, Chugai’s growth strategy, and conducting global environmental measures is one of the material issues within that reform effort. As the problems of climate change and marine pollution caused by plastic waste grow increasingly serious, Chugai is engaged in initiatives to introduce eco-friendly plastic materials.
Introduction of Eco-friendly Plastic Materials
Chugai has been working to reduce the thickness of packaging materials, use recycled paper for paper containers and packaging such as individual boxes and cardboard boxes, and material labeling that encourages recycling at the time of disposal.
New eco-friendly materials have been developed in recent years and can now be effectively used with pharmaceuticals as well. We have thus begun switching from conventional petroleum-derived virgin plastics (plastics from non-recycled materials) to eco-friendly packaging materials.
While there are various types of product packaging, this switch focuses primarily on four heavily-used types, including press-through packs (PTP) for packaging solid formulations; plastic bottles; aluminum pillows; and syringe blister packs.
In 2022, we began switching to recycled plastic derived from recycled materials in the production of aluminum pillows and syringe blister packs. The use of recycled plastic reduces resource consumption and leads to reduce waste through the re-use of used plastics. Please see the link below for those results.
Initiatives involving Chugai product countermeasures to address reduction of environmental load
In addition, we are considering switching to packaging materials containing biomass plastics, made from renewable plant-derived materials, for PTP and plastic bottles, and expect to begin production from around 2023. Because plants absorb carbon dioxide as they are produced, the carbon neutrality of biomass during incineration and disposal means it does not raise the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and biomass is thus expected to contribute to the prevention of global warming and a reduction in the dependence on fossil fuels.
Going forward, our goal is to use eco-friendly packaging materials from the product launch stage. We are also studying technology to allow for the use of eco-friendly packaging materials in all of our products by 2030.
In the future, it is expected that new eco-friendly packaging materials, including plastic substitutes and single materials suitable for recycling, will be introduced. We will thus keep a close watch on technological trends, develop more eco-friendly packaging, and promote an even greater reduction in the environmental impact of Chugai’s products.
Left photo: Shigehiro Yamada, Center photo: Hiroaki Oie, Right photo: Kenta Wada
Manager, Planning and Packaging Technology Group, Formulation Development Dept. Kenta Wada
The adoption of eco-friendly packaging materials has been limited to a few products in the pharmaceutical industry for reasons such as their impact on product quality and the costs associated with equipment changes. Under these circumstances, we have determined that our efforts to protect the global environment are a material issue in our growth strategy, and after discussing the costs and benefits, we have decided to implement these initiatives. We would like to continue taking on the challenge of difficult technology and expand our eco-friendly packaging materials to other products so that Chugai can become known for its eco-friendly packaging.
Planning and Packaging Technology Group, Formulation Development Dept. Hiroaki Oie
Our activities will contribute to the global environment through a switch in waste generated by medical institutions and patients who use Chugai’s products to more eco-friendly waste products. We will continue to actively deploy eco-friendly packaging materials, while also advancing technological development in cooperation with our affiliates for products which, in terms of quality, use of such materials is currently difficult. We will thus apply environmental measures to even more products going forward. I hope to move these efforts forward so that we can lead the industry as a whole.
General Manager, Sustainability Dept. Shigehiro Yamada
The reliability of pharmaceutical products is sustained by quality, efficacy and safety, and packaging and containers are important elements supporting all of these. The ideal forms and materials, including ease of use for patients and medical professionals, are selected through product development. This initiative addresses the difficult task of switching to eco-friendly packaging and containers while avoiding any impact on the products themselves and while considering compliance with pharmaceutical regulations. The enthusiasm and ingenuity of those in charge of this effort are what made it possible. We will continue our efforts to solve social issues through our business, without compromising our contribution to patients.
(As of December 1, 2022)