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    Packaging ecodesign can contribute to improve the environmental performance of pharmaceutical products. The main goal of this article is to present an ecodesign approach based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for pharmaceutical packaging, assessing opportunities to improve the packaging environmental performance, and providing ecodesign recommendations to the pharmaceutical sector. The proposed ecodesign approach consists of five phases. I) The most representative packaging of medicines in the market (blister, bottle, and sachet), with different sizes, materials and weights, were investigated. II) Three ecodesign strategies were selected to analyze with LCA: i) weight and/or volume reduction, ii) alternative types of packaging, and iii) transportation with less environmental impact. III-IV) A cradle-to-gate life cycle model has been implemented, including transport to pharmacies. Alternative transportation modes (truck, train, airplane, and ship) and different packaging production locations have been considered. Thirteen environmental categories have been analyzed. V) Ecodesign recommendations for improving the environmental performance of pharmaceutical packaging are presented in two stages: i) specific recommendations based on LCA, illustrated in sheets with examples of ecodesign, quantifying the environmental impact reduction of an ecodesign solution compared to the original; and ii) generic recommendations for different packaging life cycle phases. Ecodesign recommendations highlight the use of smaller-size packaging, avoiding superfluous elements and empty spaces, which reduces material and production costs, and transportation impacts; the selection of modes of transportation with less environmental impact, considering the packaging production location; and the use of electric vehicles for pharmacy distribution. This ecodesign approach based on LCA allows quantifying environmental impacts robustly to support the incorporation of environmental information from the design, material selection, and packaging production to distribution till the final consumer. This article emphasizes the importance of developing specific packaging ecodesign based on LCA to improve environmental performance and provide more informed recommendations to stakeholders. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Fabiana Bassani, Carla Rodrigues, Pedro Marques, Fausto Freire. Ecodesign approach for pharmaceutical packaging based on Life Cycle Assessment. The Science of the total environment. 2022 Apr 10;816:151565

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    PMID: 34762947

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