Life Science Functional Labels Feature Updates on Sustainable Materials

Schreiner MediPharm launched its sustainability-conscious versions of two popular products at Pack Expo, October 23-26 in Chicago. There are, of course, many ways to define sustainability in life science packaging. The new offerings have been designed with three key sustainability considerations:

  • Recycled/renewable materials
  • Sorted recycling/dismantling
  • CO2 emission reduction

“The new label designs are based on existing items in Schreiner MediPharm’s list of functional labeling solutions,” the company explains, using film materials that are either recycled or produced from renewable raw materials. . On the program were:

(1) A more durable version of its Pharma-Tac label for infusion bottles with built-in hanger and removable literature pieces. The concept label is made from recycled materials (PE and PET), according to Christian Liebl, innovation and process manager at Schreiner MediPharm.

(2) A more eco-friendly version of their auto-injector label, featuring their popular anti-slip feature. Liebl explains, “The autoinjector label is made from Schreiner MediPharm’s proprietary renewable PP, while the paper liner is made from FSC glassine paper. These two concepts show that functional labels can be easily produced with recycled or renewable materials. We welcome any customer opportunity to produce unique test labels.Auto-injectors are used to facilitate self-medication. The marking label made of environmentally friendly material can be equipped with individually combinable functions.

Sorted recycling and dismantling

Sorting and disassembly has gotten a lot of attention recently when discussing the practicality of recycling versus theory. Although some medical packaging cannot be reused or recycled, more sustainable material choices can provide some durability before the end of the packaging’s life. “Sorted recycling is possible if the label material and the ‘body material’ (of a medical device) are identical. So, for example, if the auto-injector shell is made of PP and we put a PP-based label on top, recycling is easy,” says Liebl. “The Pharma-Tac label consists of different types of polymers to achieve the desired functionality, which makes recycling theoretically possible but in reality rather difficult. As this delivery system is primarily designed for medications administered in a hospital setting and could come into contact with blood-borne pathogens, the entire container is considered biohazardous waste.

Liebl goes on to add that as long as there are suitable materials available, Schreiner will work with customers to optimize their labeling solutions for easy recycling and dismantling. This could be done on a project basis to meet individual client requirements.

“The disassembly consideration is independent of the type of material chosen,” he says. “It’s more a matter of design, to make dismantling possible. After removing the label, for example, the half-shells of the auto-injector can be reused for new products. If you can feed the removed label to a controlled recycling process, the overall sustainability increases even further.

Of course, sustainability is not limited to the use of recycled and/or renewable materials. Liebl notes: “Schreiner MediPharm encourages sustainable actions and takes ecological factors into account in the development and production of our products. Accordingly, we also expect sustainable actions and ethical behavior from our business partners. »

Performance and runnability

Schreiner’s in-house R&D team has performed extensive testing to show that the updated materials perform as well/reliably as their conventional counterparts. “For example, the Pharma-Tac label was tested for load and gravity, and the hanger label and Autoinjector-Label were tested for adhesion, ink adhesion, the durability of printing and the viability of laser marking. All tests passed perfectly,” says Liebl.

He says a key feature of their renewable and recycled builds is that they should run on any existing equipment capable of handling the conventional tag version. Liebl recommends confirming suitability during a validation cycle and notes that Schreiner is happy to participate in testing with on-site technical staff if desired.

The company reports that a Product Carbon Footprint (PFC) has been calculated for each of the new sustainable label designs. This calculation considers the CO2 a product’s emissions from raw materials through manufacturing and delivery – called “cradle-to-gate” analysis – as well as end-of-life scenarios, or so-called “cradle-to-grave” impact. Using materials that have been qualified, Schreiner MediPharm is able to design and develop custom labeling systems that can help companies adapt to more sustainable supply chains.

“The healthcare industry faces greater sustainability challenges than the vast majority of other sectors, as patient safety and drug efficacy must be prioritized on a more critical scale,” said Gene Dul, president of Schreiner MediPharm US. « Labels concerned with sustainability [we’re] showcased at Pack Expo exemplify our commitment to reducing environmental impact without sacrificing patient focus in the least. This is an important step towards a more circular health economy.

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