Committed to Reducing Plastic in Pharma

Posted in: About Valley Northern 9th April 2021 Committed to Reducing Plastic in Pharma

The war on plastic has been raging for several years now, yet the business of pharma is still a large contributor to the world’s plastic problem. 

The war on plastic has been raging for several years now, yet the business of pharma is still a large contributor to the world’s plastic problem.

Pharmacy is moving towards a more sustainable future, but balancing the needs of patients, legal requirements, economic concerns and ensuring the safety and efficacy of medication poses a difficult task.

With Earth Day coming up on 21st April, we figured: what better time to be thinking about what we can do, as companies as well as individuals, to get on the path to restore our earth?

Here at Valley Northern we believe that, by addressing the amount of paper and plastic waste that form an inherent part of pharmacy business operations, pharma companies could go a long way help to reduce the industry’s environmental impact.

“Pharmacies utilise large volumes of plastic containers to both store and dispense medications,” says Adrian Pittock, Marketing Director at Valley Northern. “Sourcing quality pharmaceutical packaging from environmentally conscious suppliers who readily provide information and guides on how to correctly dispose of, recycle or reuse packaging items is one way to ensure pharmacists are informed about the products they are using to dispense medication in.

“Efforts to properly recycle medication bottles, jars and cartons according to the materials they are made from can improve waste reduction considerably.”

Valley Northern have published helpful disposal guides for our products, which are free to download from our website, in a bid to encourage reuse and recycling wherever possible and to help our customers dispose of plastic products properly.

Adrian adds: “Both recycling and waste reduction are vital to making pharmacy practice more sustainable. Another method is by attempting to use the smallest dispensing bottle possible for each prescription and packaging prescriptions as efficiently as possible to cut down on this waste.”

By introducing several new ranges to support our aim of reducing the amount of plastic we contribute to the pharma market, Valley Northern is constantly innovating with sustainability as a focus. We pride ourselves on sourcing quality products that serve their intended purposes most effectively whilst also keeping the environment front of mind. With a variety of products that are 100% recyclable, biodegradable and compostable and an ISO 14001 accreditation, we are intent on offering customers the widest choice of cost-effective, environmentally-friendly solutions in the market.

In addition to redesigning prescription bags to disrupt the accustomed blue-striped variety in favour of eco-themed green, with appropriate disposal instructions printed on as standard, Valley Northern is the first company of its kind to offer gripseal bags made from paper sourced from FSC-approved forests to the pharma market. 

We also stock bags made from other sustainable materials. For alternatives to plastic carrier bags, choose from 30% recycled content plastic, corn starch, potato starch or sugar cane bag options, available here.

Where we simply cannot avoid sourcing plastic products, every effort is made to reduce the amount utilised in the manufacture. For instance, we recently launched a version of our best-selling disposable weekly tablet trays, comprising of 50% less plastic than previous versions with both paper and plastic components being fully recyclable.

In case you didn’t see it we published a whitepaper earlier this year, detailing how pharmacists as individuals can do their bit to help minimise the environmental impact of community pharmacy; such as by educating patients on how to correctly dispose of the containers for dispensed medicines. The paper, entitled ‘How Pharmacies Can Implement Sustainable Practices in Everyday Dispensing’ is available to download from our website here.

Sustainability in pharma is attainable. Choosing the correct product to fit the purpose, such as 100% recyclable and reusable PET medicine bottles, or bags comprising of plastic alternatives, is essential to contribute towards the reduction of plastic waste emitted in pharma.

For more information about our range of products email our Environmental Specialists at or call +44 (0)1785 250123.


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