UK Launches Circularity in Primary Pharmaceutical Packaging Accelerator Initiative to Implement Pharmaceutical Packaging Strategies

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The non-profit initiative puts collaboration at the forefront as it tackles the challenges surrounding recycling primary pharmaceutical packaging.

The United Kingdom has launched The Circularity in Primary Pharmaceutical Packaging Accelerator (CiPPPA) initiative to develop and implement strategies for end-of-use recycling of medicinal devices and pharmaceutical packaging. CiPPPA is a collaborative non-profit initiative connecting stakeholders from across the pharmaceutical supply chain. It is managed by a steering committee composed by representatives from within the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector who are committed to creating a future where used packaging from meter dose inhalers (MDIs), blisters, and injectables can be easily recycled.

Currently, the health industry faces a great deal of challenges in regard to recycling primary pharmaceutical packaging (PPP), according to a press release from CiPPPA. Present regulations are strict to uphold the safety, efficacy, and regulatory compliance of each active medicinal product, but they have been unable to consider long-term environmental effects. PPP recycling is also not part of mainstream consumer recycling due to the problematic materials involved, resulting in broader environmental, financial, and regulatory obstacles.

To address these obstacles, CiPPPA has established three action task forces, focused on creating packaging solutions for blisters, inhalers, and injectables. Each task force is led by subject experts who make use of organizational schemes and industry collaboration to drive the initiative forward. The task forces are critical, CiPPPA states, in bolstering collaborative efforts and utilizing member organizations’ expertise and resources to tackle the difficult environmental challenges around pharmaceutical packaging. Leading pharmaceutical companies, global over-the-counter (OTC) brands, and healthcare systems such as the National Health Service are closely involved with the initiative, signaling an “united industry commitment to influencing societal and cross-industry change for the benefit of the environment and the community” (1).


“Having previously sold thousands of tons of blister pack materials into the UK, and knowing that none of it was getting recycled, I became frustrated at the lack of sustainable solutions for the packs' end-of-life,” said Duncan Flack, Global Sustainability Lead at Honeywell and Chairman of CiPPPA, in the press release (1). “By founding and establishing CiPPPA, we are able to deliver enhanced end-of-life for blister packs and related pharmaceutical packaging such as metered-dose inhalers and injectables. The willingness of leading pharmaceutical companies and global OTC brands to support the initiative has been tremendous, and as CiPPPA continues to grow, so too does our ability to influence societal and cross-industry change.”

“We’re proud to be a founding member of CiPPPA and join forces with partners across the sector to address the sustainable packaging of medicines and vaccines,” said Claire Lund, vice president of Sustainability, GSK (1). “We have ambitious company targets across climate and nature and through collaborative initiatives such as CiPPPA, we believe we can make a positive impact through the increased recycling of packaging, helping to protect the health of both people and the planet.”


  1. CiPPPA. Circularity in Primary Pharmaceutical Packaging Accelerator (CiPPPA) Launched to Take Collaborative Action on Pharmaceutical Packaging. Press Release. Apr. 24, 2024.