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LloydsPharmacy introduces new environmentally friendly prescription bags

LloydsPharmacy is striving to reduce its plastic usage and minimise its impact on the environment by changing its approach to plastic bags.

From January 2020, all bags used by the LloydsPharmacy automated dispensing hubs will be 100% recyclable. This means that over 6 million prescription bags per year which are processed centrally in Warrington, Bristol and Ruislip will now be made from a sugarcane compound rather than traditional plastic.

The introduction of these new environmentally-friendly prescription bags is part of McKesson UK’s commitment to improving its environmental impact and reducing its carbon footprint.

“We understand that we have a responsibility to reduce our environmental impact and we know that plastics is an important issue for our customers. Although there is still much debate about what the right approach should be, we carefully considered all options and decided that sugarcane prescription bags are the best solution, for us, without comprising quality or risking product safety. Our vision for better health involves contributing to a healthier environment and although it represents an increase in cost for us, we believe that it is the right thing to do to help us take better care of our planet”.

Ashley Cowen, McKesson UK Supply Chain Director

The new bags will be made from Green Plastic – often referred to as Green PE – and can go straight into the recycling bin. The bags are made up of 85% sugarcane and 15% plastic. During production, sugarcane is processed as a raw material and then transformed into ethanol. This is then used to make the prescription bags.

Green PE is equally as robust as traditional plastic made from petroleum, which means there will be no detriment to the quality or condition in which patients receive their medication. The raw materials of Green PE are recyclable and sustainable, helping to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere which helps to tackle global warming.

“We still have more to do as an organisation to become more environmentally friendly, and we are continually working with our colleagues, partners and customers to find even more ways to reduce our impact.”

Ashley Cowen