Here's a good example of design's capability to shake up the supply chain for positive gain: Cambridge Consultants' new Syreen, a green syringe concept "designed to ease the resource intensity and material wastage associated with traditional syringe development and manufacture."
Instead of glass, Syreen syringes are made with COP (cyclic olefin polymer) plastic, which has enabled Cambridge Consultants to shed the need for secondary packaging altogether, a first in this medical device arena. The makeup of the Syreen allows syringes to clip together, nesting in a pack while the COP design doubles as the outer shell of the packaging itself. The Syreen therefore eliminates the need for wasteful fillers such as cardboard and styrofoam, reducing the packaging weight by 30 percent and volume by 50 percent from today's standard packaging. The United States alone produces 6,600 tons of medical waste per day, equalling well over two million tons per year--approximately 85 percent of which goes to landfills throughout the country.1
"What makes Syreen so exciting is that while it is a sustainable alternative to the status quo, it can truly introduce a paradigm shift in the existing supply chain," said Phil Lever, Commercial Director, Drug Delivery Devices for Cambridge Consultants. "We found that typical glass syringes use many materials from all over the world and that shipping costs are egregious due to inefficiencies in packaging. This marriage of economy and ecology shows that medical device companies will likely see competitive benefits by taking sustainability seriously."
Cambridge Consultants is currently seeking a member of Big Pharma to team up with and get this thing into production.