Central Pharma set to buck the trend in pharma packaging with grant approved for in-house recycle plant

Central Pharma's recycling programme creates a more circular plastic packaging value chain, creating a viable blister pack recycling process for the first time.


Pharmaceutical blister packaging is the preferred method of storing pills and capsules, due to its excellent preservation qualities, tamper evidence, and ease of tracking medication dosage. However, they are a composite of PVC and aluminium, making them difficult to recycle, meaning millions of blister packs end up in landfill each year. Additionally, any remaining medicine in discarded packs has the potential to contaminate waterways and ultimately enter the food chain.

Advances in Bioplastics are promising, as an alternative to blister packaging but are currently difficult to validate for most medications, due to their decay in varying climates. They are less effective at preserving medicines and therefore unsafe. In addition to this, their breakdown in landfill would result in increased contamination of water sources by pharmaceuticals.

Pharmaceutical packaging’s eradication from landfill remains a priority for many and Central Pharma’s application of a government grant for an in-house recycle plant has been successful.

Following on from their recent purchase of in-house Electric Vehicles, this is another step on their strategic journey to becoming a fully circular manufacturer.

Central Pharma’s latest initiative aligns with WRAP’s 2025 Plastics Pact targets by making 100% of blister packaging recyclable. This will also allow the organisation to ensure every component in the packaging process is fully recycled and that the company obtains the lowest possible carbon footprint.

By creating an ecosystem, Central Pharma’s process allows recycling of these materials into new blister packs, providing the first viable route to achieving eradication from landfill:

Central Pharma Recycling Cycle

Central Pharma’s recycling programme creates a more circular plastic packaging value chain, creating a viable blister pack recycling process for the first time. This improved business model provides significant carbon emission and energy consumption benefits compared to the production of blister packs from virgin material, while also removing millions of tonnes of PVC (plus discarded medicines) from landfill. Establishing a recycling ecosystem will also encourage and incentivise recycling among consumers and other packaging suppliers.

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