Sponsored by Nolato

Sustainable innovative packaging by Nolato 

Nolato Pharma Packaging, the european leader of primary plastic pharmaceutical packaging, with head quarters in Sweden, has a clear focus on contributing to a more sustainable society. With biomaterials as raw material and built-in smart electronics, the packaging of the future is already here.

Nolato’s sustainability work dates back to the foundation of the company in 1938. - It’s part of our DNA and continues to permeate everything we do, today with more dedication than ever before - says Glenn Svedberg - Head of Nolato Pharma Packaging.

Sustainable design 

With the slogan "Design for Sustainability" as a guiding star, our goal is to contribute to sustainability with efficient and smart plastic packaging for pharmaceuticals. With this in focus, we have switched to green electricity in all the factories where possible, i.e. everywhere except in China and the US. In addition, we optimize both packaging and transports to avoid unnecessary emissions. We also minimize the use of chemicals and continuously try to clean our processes a step further. You can always do everything a little better.

Designing for sustainability means, among other things, to always think about the recycling step already during the design phase. For example, it is important not to mix different plastic materials, which also means avoiding composite materials as they are difficult to recycle. Getting more and more countries to work actively with the infrastructure for recycling of packaging is a very important part of the fight for the sustainable society. Once the recycling processes are in place, this facilitates for people in everyday life and makes it easier to address people's behaviour and steer towards a more circular economy.  

Part of designing for sustainability is also to create optimised packaging with the right amount of material. This is a big focus area for our product development team, which has developed a second generation of our biggest selling cap, where we have managed to reduce material consumption by 25 per cent, with retained properties, which saves both resources and costs for manufacturing as well as for transportation, says Glenn Svedberg.

Biomaterials and recycled materials

Nolato Pharma Packaging has started to introduce bio-based Polyethylene (PE) packaging produced from sugarcane as part of their standard packaging range for both pharmaceuticals as well as vitamins, minerals and food-supplements. This material has basically the same production parameters as PE from fossil raw material which means that the existing machines can be used and most of the standard product range will be validated for bioplastics by 2020.

The use of recycled plastics in the packaging from Nolato is mainly hindered by the regulatory requirements that exist. - From a purely technical point of view,  We could make use of or blend in recycled material already today, but since the authorities have high demands on, among other things, traceability all the way back to the raw material, it means that we cannot so far. But if our suppliers would be able to classify recycled material, then we are ready, explains Glenn Svedberg.

Smart packaging

Keeping a patient-centric approach is at the core of all product development at Nolato Pharma Packaging. Fighting non-adherence is part of the sustainability agenda and the company has teamed up with – designer of and holder of patents for commercially available IoT smart technology – to develop and integrate smart functionality in pharmaceutical packaging products.

With smart digital caps the packaging can monitor the adherence and send reminders via an app to the patient or the caregiver based on the patient’s individual prescription. It can also stimulate daily use of, for instance, vitamins or food supplements by light signals from the cap and activate automatic replenishment of product subscriptions or encourage communication between the user and the brand owner. Digital pharma packaging also provides numerous applications concerning safety, with features such as user authentication, adult approval, time and dosage verification as well as monitoring the handling instructions of a specific medicine. Yet another area of use is the collection of patient usage data during clinical trials where digital packaging provides safe and simplified methods for capturing, registering and monitoring information which may enable reduced user groups or reduced lead times during the clinical trials of new drugs.

We are just beginning to tap into the power of smart caps and the internet of packaging, and application areas and possibilities with smart technology pharmaceutical packaging are tremendous and very exciting, says Glenn Svedberg. It will offer opportunities and bring added value for both patients, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies.

This is Nolato Pharma Packaging:

Nolato Pharma Packaging boasts extensive experience of developing and manufacturing primary plastic pharmaceutical packaging. With manufacturing units in Sweden and UK, our unrivalled offering includes a wide range of standard products from our leading Cerbo and Jaycare brands, as well as tailor-made packaging to meet specific customer requirements.

We are part of the Nolato Group, a Swedish publicly listed group with operations in Europe, Asia and North America. Nolato has a long tradition of responsible business practice. Our basic principle is that effective business must be combined with ethics, corporate responsibility and environmental awareness.