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European Pharmaceutical Contractor

Waste Watchers

 

The suppliers and users of temperature-controlled packaging systems are under increasing pressure to reduce the environmental impact of cold chain shipping. The widespread introduction of formal corporate social responsibility policies, together with new customer expectations and stricter regulations, means that developing a suitable packaging system is more challenging than ever.

Before we even consider its environmental credentials, packaging has to fulfil a number of functions. Perhaps most importantly, it must ensure that its contents are protected in storage and distribution, and delivered to the consumer or business end-user in good condition. This is particularly difficult when long distances and time-scales are involved, commonly subjecting the packaging to extreme temperatures and hazards such as vibration, moisture, heat and light penetration. Furthermore, it must be robust and secure, but also compact and lightweight, in order to keep shipping costs down.

To produce a packaging system that both meets these criteria and has minimal impact on the environment, a careful balance must be achieved, using the right design and the right materials. In the retail and food industries, eco-packaging design has become big business. Innovative new packaging materials are increasingly available in these sectors, produced from more sustainable resources, such as crops, or materials that compost or biodegrade easily in a short time period. Additionally, there are many incentives to help reclaim and reduce packaging materials, such as loyalty points for using reusable carrier bags rather than disposable ones.


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Geraint Thomas graduated from Brunel University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science with 1st Class Honours in Industrial Product Design. After working as a Board Game Engineer for Hasbro toys, he joined Laminar Medica in 1998 as a Packaging Development Technologist with responsibility for packaging solutions and qualification packages for insulated shipper design. Now employed as Technical Director, Geraint has been instrumental in realising Laminar Medica’s development programme, including the expansion of the company’s qualification laboratory and R&D facility.
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