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World Applied Sciences Journal 14 (11): 1703-1716, 2011ISSN 1818-4952© IDOSI Publications, 2011
Corresponding Author:
Anupama Singh, Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Meerut Institute of Engineeringand Technology, Bypass Road, Baghpat Crossing, NH-58, Meerut-250005, U.P. India.Tel: +91-9720200161.
Eco Friendly Pharmaceutical Packaging Material
 Anupama Singh, Pramod Kumar Sharma and Rishabha Malviya
Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Meerut Institute of Engineering and Technology,Bypass Road, Baghpat Crossing, NH-58, Meerut-250 005, U.P., India
Eco friendly pharmaceutical packaging materials are the safe materials for environment whichenclose pharmaceutical product in any of the dosage forms. They may be derived from natural resources,like starches, proteins etc. that inflict little or nearly no harm on the environment and the environmentdependent species. This review highlight the eco friendly materials, their classification, uses, advantages andfinally summarizes the scope and future need in respect of pharmaceutical packaging. Classification hasbeen done under several categories based on their uses, chemical constituents and the type of raw materialused for its manufacturing. This review, details all the above mentioned aspects and the responsibility of pharmaceutical sector for progressive development of such eco friendly packaging.
Key words:
Environment friendly
Pharmaceutical packaging
light, oxygen and temperature variations. This type of Pharmaceutical packaging materials are the collection(Pharma-grade Barrier films and Eco-friendly Halogen-of different components which surround thefree films).pharmaceutical product since the time of production tillits use. Thus pharmaceutical packaging, as a
Biological Protection:
It is meant for the protectioncollective term, may be defined as the science, artagainst biological contaminants.and technology of enclosing or protecting productsfor distribution, storage, sale and usage including
Physical Protection:
It is meant for the protection of printed material, employed in the finishing of apharmaceutical dosage forms against physical damage.pharmaceutical product [1, 2]. It serves as aneconomical means of providing identification,
Information Communication:
In pharmaceutical context,presentation, protection, information and conveniencepackagings should carry the information on the correctfrom the time of production until it is used orusage of dosage forms, their contents, their provenance,administered [3, 4].side-effects and warnings.The type of pharmaceutical packaging useddepends upon its function and type of the material used.
It is meant for identification of the product.All packaging materials must finally be evaluated viatesting of selected materials, sterilization, storage and
Pharmaceutical packaging possesses certainstability studies. Packaging of pharmaceuticalfeatures to prevent it from counterfeiting. It alsoproducts plays a very significant role in the maintenanceprevents small children from accessing the contents of of their quality [1, 5].formulations.
Functions of Packaging [6]Convenience:
Packaging must be convenient enough
Barrier Protection:
It is meant for protection againstto increase consumer access to products andall adverse external influences that can alter theimprove distribution, handling, selling and usingproperties of the product, which may include moisture,such products.protection can be provided by using blister packing
World Appl. Sci. J., 14 (11): 1703-1716, 2011
It is often used as marketing tool toprovides a great alternative to plastic but with similardifferentiate a product and/or to convey a certainhard-wearing properties [13]. Once a product is inmessage or brand image to highlight the pharmaceuticalthe market it is difficult to improve the environmentalaspects for consumers.characteristics of packaging or a device hence,The kind of packaging and the materials used must beenvironmental considerations are taken into accountchosen in such a way that:at an early stage of development [14]. Packaging
Packaging itself does not produce any adversefor current ecological needs by providing efficienteffect on the quality of the pharmaceutical productways to package the formulation in pharmaceuticalthrough chemical reactions, leaching of packagingindustry [7]. These designs also aim to reduce thematerials, or absorption.amount of packaging material that is ultimately
Product does not produce any adverse effect ondisposed off. Greener packaging designs fulfillsthe quality of pharmaceutical packaging bythe needs of most pharmaceutical manufacturerschanging its properties, or affecting its protectivewithout sacrificing our environment. For this variousfunctions [7].types of eco friendly packaging materials have been
Packaging as well as the product itself should notdeveloped. Packaging and devices are thereforehave any adverse effect on the environment.designed and manufactured to allow recycling of a
Another important factor considered must be itscertain percentage by weight or have a minimumlow cost, ease of fabrication, availability andcalorific value to allow optimization of energyregulatory acceptance of the material as well as therecovery. Characteristics of eco friendlyfinal product used.packaging include that it should be well-designed,The key philosophy of packaging is that it must bereusable [8].gentle to the environment and thus, most of thePharma industry too is progressing towards thepharmaceutical companies are willing to accept this asuse of such reusable materials to meet the growingtheir prime responsibility [8]. As a result pharmaceuticalchallenges of the present century. Two major conceptscompanies have also started the use of recycledof eco-friendly pharmaceutical packaging material areresources for packaging and made their packaging easierthat they are either recyclable or biodegradable.to recycle [8].With the advent of new technology and increasing
Eco Friendly Pharmaceutical Packaging:
The wordcost-effective and many companies are boosting theireco friendly, also known as environmental friendly orsales due to their switch over to biodegradablenature friendly or green packaging materials arepackaging. Cosmetics and natural health products arepackaging that uses environment safe materials inalso enhancing their brand image by adopting suchits production thus to inflict minimal or no harm ontype of packaging since, eco friendlythe environment. Such environmental friendlypharmaceutical packaging is one of the hottestpharmaceutical packaging materials often are markedethical global trends. It also adds brand value to awith eco-labels. Various research and developmentparticular product [15].projects are on the way to introduce the use ofThe development of environment friendlybiodegradable and eco friendly packaging materials.pharmaceutical packaging material technology is still inThe design of such biodegradable and eco friendlythe phase of growth [14].packaging materials are the present day need andthus must be used to replace an existing packaging
material, or to complement one which are available inmarket [7, 8, 10-12]. Products for eco friendly packagingEnvironment friendly pharmaceutical packagingprovides options which include paper/ cardboardmaterials can be classified in several ways:(preferably recycled or from sustainable sources)and corn starch which are biodegradable in nature.
Based on their uses (given in Table 1) [16].Corn starch can be used to make a wide variety of 
Based on the chemical constituent used.different products including bags, trays and boxes and
Polysaccharide.design is challenging enough to provide a solutionstreamlined, biodegradable and easily recyclable ordemand, biodegradable packaging has become
World Appl. Sci. J., 14 (11): 1703-1716, 2011
Table 1: Functional parameters of eco friendly pharmaceutical packaging material
ParametersDescriptionBarrier protectionProvides protection against moisture, light, oxygen and temperature variationsBiological protectionProvides protection against biological contaminantsPhysical protectionEnsures protection against any physical damageInformation communicationConveys information on the correct usage of dosage forms, their contents, their provenance, side-effects and warningsIdentification Easy identification of the productSecurity Protection from small children and against counterfeitingConvenience Increase consumer access to products and improve distribution, handling, selling and using such productsMarketing Differentiate a product and/or to convey a certain message or brand image to highlight thepharmaceutical aspects for consumers
Starch, a polysaccharide, is a renewable, ecocellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose and cellulose acetate.friendly and widely available raw material. It isAmong these derivatives cellulose acetate is widelyobtained from various sources such as legumes,used in pharmaceutical packaging and other laboratorytubers, cereals. The primary source of starch is corn,works [17, 22, 24, 28-30].potato, wheat and rice. It can be pressed into sheetsfor packing thin walled products such as trays,
It forms a group of substances called hemi-disposable dishes etc [17-24]. It is used as a loosecellulose. It is a naturally occurring most commonfill for packaging, bags and sacks, flexible packaging,carbohydrate found in plant cell walls and some algae.rigid packaging. Since starch packaging materials areIt is also obtained as residue from agricultural industries.brittle in nature when a high concentration of starch isLike cardboard, xylan is biodegradable, compostable andused, various biodegradable plasticizers like glycerolhence eco friendly. Xylophane is thus used as anand other low-molecular weight polyhydroxy compounds,environment friendly packaging material [31-32].polyethers and urea are added. Plasticizers inhibit themicrobial growth by lowering the water activity [17].
It occurs in the exoskeleton of In recent years, compostable materials involvinginvertebrates. It forms the second most abundantstarch based thermoplastic materials are dominating thepolysaccharide resource after cellulose. Chitin ismarket [17]. The blend of biodegradable starch basedwidely used in packaging due to its antimicrobialpolymers like polylactide, polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB),property, thus maintains the preservative action andpolyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and a copolymer of PHBprotects the product from unnecessary microbialand valeric acid (V) with aliphatic polyesters or polyvinylgrowth. It has the unique property to absorb heavy metalalcohol has increased some of their properties withions and is mostly used as packaging material in ediblesignificant use in various industrial applications.coatings. Chitosan-cellulose and polycaprolactone formsFour types of starch based polymers are available [24-27]:packaging of fresh product [17, 19].
Starch synthetic aliphatic polyester blends.
A protein is formed of repeating units of 
Thermoplastic starch products.amino acids. The chemical modification of side chain o
Starch-Polyvinyl alcohol blends.these polymers through grafting help in tailoring the
Starch polybutylene succinate or polybutyleneproperties of packaging material. Cross linking of succinate adipate (PBSA) polyester blends.polymer and graft copolymerization of natural polymer
Cellophane is the most commonadvancement towards biodegradable packaging filmscellulose-based biopolymer. Cellulose is a linear[17, 33]. Protein based raw materials are derived frompolymer of anhydroglucose that occurs mostreplenishable, agricultural feed stocks often calledabundantly in nature. Cellulose derivatives widelyagricultural materials or agro-packaging materials that areused for packaging, are commercially produced;renewable and biodegradable and used in edibleexamples of which include methyl cellulose, ethylpackaging. The concept of agro-packaging refers tocellulose, carboxymethyl cellulose, hydroxyethylthe use of renewable products and control of the endthe biodegradable laminate in modified atmospherewith synthetic monomer is better alternative

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