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Bayer’s Consumer Health Division and yet2 invite specialists to share materials that support the company’s goal of 100% recyclable or renewable packaging by 2030.

Kassandra Kania

September 12, 2022

3 Min Read
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Image courtesy of yet2

Bayer is raising the bar on its commitment to sustainable pharmaceutical packaging: The company has partnered with yet2 to identify technologies that will accelerate its goal of being climate neutral by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

The sustainable packaging innovation challenge invites innovators and technologists to share biodegradable, compostable, dissolvable, or edible packaging designs. Formats of interest include sachets and flexible or rigid tubes.

Solutions should:

• Be sourced from biobased or renewably sourced materials.
• Be scalable.
• Be compatible with existing packaging production lines.
• Be cost effective.
• Be validated by a third party for biodegradability, compostability.

Bayer is also interested in barrier films that can be applied to biodegradable or renewably sourced materials — but without negatively affecting their end-of-life biodegradability.

Keiko Tago, head of packaging sustainability at Bayer, answered Packaging Digest’s questions about the innovation challenge’s submission criteria and how this project fits into the company’s overall commitment to sustainability.

 

Why create an open innovation challenge instead of researching supplier offerings directly? What do you think this project will do for you that you can’t do any other way?

Tago: To accelerate our technology scouting and overall sustainability goals, we are pursuing both strategies: collaborating with our existing suppliers and at the same time reaching out for external innovation. The open innovation challenge with yet2 allows us to tap into their strong experience and a deep network of leaders and innovators in sustainable packaging, which we think will help us find the right partners and maximize the impact of our sustainability commitments.

 

Your goals are to be “climate neutral by 2030 and net zero by 2050.” What do you mean by climate neutral? What does net zero mean?

Tago: We refer to the article https://www.bayer.com/en/sustainability/climate-protection where we outline our goals to be climate neutral — through the reduction of emissions and, following reduction, through offset by purchasing certificates through climate protection projects with recognized quality standards — and have net zero GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, including our entire value chain by 2050. 

 

Why focus on packaging biodegradability when there is little infrastructure for composting in the US?

Tago: Our portfolio has a global footprint, and we understand that waste management differs from region to region. We are seeking a variety of solutions that might be applicable to our products, including those that are home compostable and do not require specific infrastructure.

 

You’ve set guidelines for oxygen and moisture barrier properties. In the past (and present, I believe), most degradable materials lose their degradation characteristics when they add a barrier layer or coating. What is different now in the material technologies or science to overcome this barrier?

Tago: The packaging industry is highly motivated to increase barrier properties of degradable materials. We have seen significant innovation in barrier properties using coatings and laminations recently, particularly in the food packaging area. We would like to encourage this trend, particularly for smaller companies at early stages of development where funding may be difficult to find.

 

Why include dissolvable and edible packaging for consumer healthcare goods?

Tago: We want to encourage innovators with particularly novel materials that could be relevant to consumer healthcare, even if their prior focus was on other industries.

 

How will this challenge accelerate Bayer’s efforts to make 100% of consumer health packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030?

Tago: This is a way to increase awareness that Bayer is open to explore innovation and partner to utilize the experience of others with existing developments in this space. We currently have multiple sustainable packaging projects with some of those at an early stage of development.

 

Additional details on Bayer’s challenge requirements can be found at https://bit.ly/3e3Xl8o. Challenge submissions should be emailed to [email protected].

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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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