Cardinal Health Receives the 2016 Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award

Recognized by the Reusable Packaging Association for their holistic, innovative approach to ensuring the safe, efficient, and sustainable delivery of refrigerated pharmaceuticals

2016 excellence in reusable packaging awardThe Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) has named Cardinal Health as the winner of the prestigious 2016 Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award.

“We were impressed with the innovation reflected in all of the entries we received this year,” said Tim Debus, President & CEO of the RPA. “However, Cardinal Health’s holistic approach and the significant business and environmental results they achieved made their submission stand out. In fact, our judges cited the profound impact demonstrated in multiple areas, including material safety, material reuse, ergonomics, fuel/emissions, and cost savings as key factors in their selection.”

cardinal healthcare logoCardinal Health delivers refrigerated pharmaceuticals to over 24,000 retail chain and independent pharmacies every day. Faced with $4 million in temperature-related product spoilage annually and the excessive cost and waste of single-use shipping materials, they needed cost-effective packaging solutions that could maintain their product within narrow temperature ranges and reduce their overall environmental impact. They partnered with Sonoco ThermoSafe to create innovative end-to-end solutions that are quickly becoming the industry standard.

Reusable plastic totes with replaceable molded expanded polystyrene (EPS) liners were already the Cardinal Health standard. The water-based coolant gel-packs within the totes, however, were replaced with plant-based PureTemp® phase change materials to improve temperature control. Additionally, a custom-designed, ergonomically friendly, reusable bulk pallet shipper that allows both refrigerated and controlled room temperature product to ship on the same truck was developed.

This solution allows Cardinal to avoid the expense of multiple vehicle shipments or moveable bulkheads to create separate temperature environments. Bottom line:

  • product spoilage was reduced by 90%
  • the phase change coolant packs are used an average of 87 times each,
  • and the bulk shippers are used an average of 192 times and counting.

Today, Cardinal Health ships $18 Billion in refrigerated pharmaceuticals in 6.5 Million reusable totes per year, while saving $5.6 Million and avoiding $9.3 Million in additional cost

“We have worked very hard across our network to reduce packaging waste through the use of sustainable, reusable packing components that protect costly refrigerated pharmaceuticals,” said Chris Anderson, Director of Quality Systems for Cardinal Health.

“High quality, qualified, durable, reusable, and sustainable packaging is a must to protect the product while remaining operationally effective. Additionally, reusable packaging reduces the waste that our customers are left to dispose of as well as saves landfill space. While we have been recognized for innovative solutions to maintain temperature and prevent product spoilage, it is also gratifying to be recognized for the sustainability benefits of our approach.”

Cardinal Health will give a presentation on their award-winning entry at the RPA Reusable Packaging Learning Center at Pack Expo International in Chicago on November 8, 2016.