Materials & Packaging

Optimal packaging design protects our products in a compliant manner and meets or exceeds customer needs with the minimum possible environmental impact.

The packaging we use for our finished products serves a range of important purposes: The foremost purpose is to protect the purity, efficacy and physical integrity of the product. Packaging also provides the customer with information and convenience, the pharmacist or provider with accurate dispensing information at the point of purchase, and our business with marketing value. For some products, packaging also serves safety functions such as child resistance and tampering evidence.

Goal(s)ProgressIndicator
Materials & Packaging
100% of the packaging for our new human health products will be reviewed for environmental impact and improvement.
100% of products launched in 2018
Achieved

Packaging

We have adopted “Design for Environment” guidelines that help our engineers design new product packages that are better for the environment by minimizing package sizes and using more environmentally friendly materials, where possible.

We have set a target to review all of our new human health packaging designs prior to launch to understand and minimize environmental impacts as much as possible, while still providing adequate protection of our products. In 2018, we implemented a packaging design change for some of our solid dose products that increased the number of doses per case and reduce the weight of the packaging materials by approximately 25 percent. This change reduces the amount of natural resources needed to package the products and the amount of fuel needed for transportation, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

To help us evaluate the differences in environmental impacts between packaging options, we use a simplified life-cycle assessment (LCA) tool that provides information on the environmental impacts generated by the materials used in our packaging. The tool helps us to make informed decisions as to which materials are better for the environment.

Solvent use

Solvents play a key role in the manufacturing of our products, as well as in equipment cleaning. Because of their significance to our business and the life-cycle impact they represent, we focus on designing our processes to minimize or avoid their use where practical. Where we do use solvents, we maximize efficiency, and control them in our emissions, effluents and waste.

We have an active Green & Sustainable Science program to design our new processes using fewer solvents and other hazardous materials, and to reuse and recycle more of the solvents we do use. For cleaning our manufacturing equipment, we use water-based methods where they are effective as solvents. At each of our manufacturing sites, we have engineers who are responsible for identifying and driving process-improvement projects. When it is not practical to reuse regenerated solvents in our own production processes, we either work with suppliers who recover the spent solvents for resale to other industries, or safely burn them as a source of energy. Any used solvents that leave our site as hazardous waste are managed at offsite facilities that are on our list of approved waste management sites.

Chemical management

A comprehensive and effective chemical management program is critical to the safety and protection of our employees, the communities in which we operate and the environment.

We have put procedures, systems and processes in place to manage the approval, procurement, inventory, receipt, transfer, storage, use and disposal of chemicals at all of our sites. We provide our employees and others with information about the identities and potential hazards of the chemicals in our operations and final products through proper labeling of chemicals and the creation of safety data sheets.

Performance

In 2018, we used 18,560 metric tons of new solvents and 6,553 metric tons of recovered solvents in our production processes and cleaning activities. The decrease in total solvent use from 2017 to 2018 reflects efficiencies in manufacturing and less solvent-based activity, such as equipment cleaning, for the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients. In 2018, we used recovered solvents for 26 percent of our manufacturing and cleaning needs.

SOLVENT USE (MT)2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Fresh solvents used24,000 15,000 20,000 19,000 18,560
Recovered solvents used11,000 7,000 8,000 7,300 6,553
Total35,000 22,000 28,000 26,300 25,113
Note: Previously reported data have been restated per our methodology, which includes adding facilities that have been acquired and removing facilities that have been sold as operating sites.