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Successful sustainable packaging project

Sustainable Outlook reader Carmen Corrado, vice president of pharma manufacturing for Roche Pharmaceuticals, submitted the following story about a successful sustainable packaging project. (Sustainable Outlook encourages reader submissions)

In 2005, when Roche (Pharmaceuticals) launched its once-monthly osteoporosis medication, Boniva (ibrandronate sodium), the company based its packaging decision on materials that would enable it to meet a very tight production deadline. Roche chose recyclable polypropylene packaging materials for its product wallet card because these materials worked best on existing production equipment.

But once Roche had more time to revisit the Boniva packaging operation, it sought a more sustainable option. We designed a four-panel recyclable laminated fiber board product wallet card and a product booklet. This solution was made with less expensive, environmentally friendly materials. Roche transitioned the new materials into the Boniva market supply beginning in January 2007 after 9 to 12 months of retooling and qualifying existing packaging equipment. We also performed rigorous testing to ensure that the package was childproof but could be opened by its users, including senior citizens with compromised dexterity.

The Boniva packaging change saves Roche approximately $8 million per year. Roche's commitment to sustainability encompasses its entire family of products, all of which are manufactured from new, but recyclable materials.

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