Parenteral packaging waste reduction.
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The consumption of pharmaceutical products generates waste materials which can cause significant environmental impact when incinerated or landfilled. The purpose of this work is to stimulate discussion among hospital pharmacists and purchasing managers relating to the waste management aspects of their purchasing decisions. As a case study example, a number of commercially available "single use" parenterals are evaluated from a waste reduction perspective, for both the product container and for the packaging of these containers. Glass vials are non-incinerable, and are currently non-recyclable due to the higher melting temperatures required for borosilicate glass. However, plastic vials are potentially both incinerable and recyclable. Packaging quantities are considerably lower for plastic vials on a unit container basis, and also vary to a measurable degree between different manufacturers for a given type of container material. From an environmental perspective, waste reduction potential should become an important criterion in the selection of pharmaceutical products for hospital use.
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