Cardinal Health Redesigns Packaging to Slash Waste

According to its recently released ESG Report, the organization expects the change to eliminate more than 169,000 pounds of packaging waste in fiscal 2024.

Kassandra Kania, Freelance Writer

June 1, 2024

2 Min Read
Cardinal Health Presource facility
Cardinal Health

At a Glance

  • Cardinal Health’s packaging redesign aims to eliminate waste in fiscal 2024 and improve storage efficiency.
  • Packaging includes recycled materials, biodegradable items, and digital sampling to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Logistics improvements focus on optimizing truckloads, reducing empty miles, and minimizing damages.

Cardinal Health recently released its 2023 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report, which mentions a package redesign aimed at improving storage efficiencies and significantly eliminating packaging waste.

According to Laura Mott, director of portfolio marketing for Presource, the redesign was initiated late in fiscal 2023 and involved a shift to a new size clear header bag that constitutes the primary outer packaging for the company’s Presource surgical kits. The majority of these kits are customized, meaning that the customer determines exactly what is in the kits.

The redesign is expected to eliminate more than 169,000 pounds of packaging waste in fiscal 2024, as well as allow the kits to be stored more efficiently in Cardinal’s distribution centers and in customers’ supply storage rooms.


Customizing sustainable packaging options.

But redesigned header bags are just one aspect of Cardinal Health’s environmental stewardship goals for Presource. A team of business and clinical optimization experts, logisticians, clinicians, and trained sales representatives leverage data and analytics to optimize the kits.

“Within our overall portfolio of kit components, we offer various sustainable options, such as light handle covers with 25%-plus recycled material; biodegradable basins, trays, and needle counters made of a plant-based composite; and tissues derived from rapidly renewable fiber-base paper,” says Mott. “These sustainable components are used in more than 3,000 different Presource kits.”

Cardinal Health is also advancing sustainability through digital pack sampling. Mott shares that customers can now choose high-quality component and pack images in place of physical samples — a change that avoids more than 30 pounds of CO2 emissions per pack.

A look at logistics.

In addition to its surgical kit optimization goals, Cardinal Health has plans for efficient transportation and logistics in 2024. ESG Report highlights include changing delivery schedules to customers to ensure optimized truckloads, deploying strategies to reduce empty miles, and taking on additional inventory to order goods less frequently.

In fiscal 2024, a key focus for the company is collaboration with its packaging engineers to significantly reduce overages, shortages, and damages (OS&D). OS&D are the discrepancies between the products that arrive at a warehouse or distribution center and the bill of lading.

Together, teams will reevaluate the way damaged packaging is handled, work to eliminate the use of unnecessary packaging materials, and explore new opportunities for reusing and recycling products.

For more information, read Cardinal Health’s full 2023 ESG Report.

About the Author(s)

Kassandra Kania

Freelance Writer

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, NC. She has written extensively about healthcare packaging for a variety of publications.

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