08 March 2020 | News
Use of plastics in the biopharmaceutical industry an essential safety benefit for patients ▪ Targets: Improve use and recycling of plastics and reduce usage of new plastic ▪ Cooperation at the European level
Sartorius, a leading international partner of life science research and the biopharmaceutical industry, is the first company in its sector to sign the European Plastics Pact. The objective of this public-private coalition is to improve use and recycling of plastics and thus to reduce usage of new plastic. Through cross-border cooperation at the European level, the signatories of this Pact aim to develop new techniques and approaches, share knowledge, harmonize guidelines and standards, and reduce current barriers. The European Plastics Pact was introduced on Friday in Brussels, Belgium, in the presence of ministers from several EU countries, the participating companies, and Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission, among other attendees.
“Single-use plastic products for use in biopharmaceutical research and production usually have a better ecological footprint than do comparable reusable products. Still, we see potential to reduce the use of natural resources in this area. Materials and material flows designed for recycling will play a key role in this context. In view of sophisticated product functionality and product safety, this is certainly a complex subject in the biopharmaceutical industry,” said Sartorius Executive Board Chairman and CEO, Joachim Kreuzburg. “The European Plastics Pact as a cooperative initiative on an international level fits in with our proactive sustainability approach.”
According to the European Plastics Pact, global use of plastics has increased twenty-fold over the past 50 years and is still growing. Even though waste resulting from biopharmaceutical single-use technologies accounts for only around 0.01 percent of the volume of annual plastic waste generated, the question of responsible use of plastics is increasingly being raised in the biopharma industry as well, given the steady growth of this market. Use of plastics often provides not only economic benefits but also considerable ecological advantages, especially as less water and energy are consumed than needed for cleaning of reusable equipment. Particularly in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries, single-use plastic products moreover provide vital safety benefits for patients.
To align single-use technologies that are beneficial for the biopharma industry with environmental aspects, Sartorius is developing a strategy for plastics that is oriented toward the four aspirational objectives of the European Plastics Pact:
Reusability and recyclability Plastic packaging will be designed to be reusable where possible and in any case recyclable. The design of functional single-use plastic products will focus on recyclability as far as possible.