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Cardinal Health Receives the 2016 Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award

By October 3, 2016December 30th, 2020General

Recognized by the Reusable Packaging Association for their holistic, innovative approach to ensuring the safe, efficient, and sustainable delivery of refrigerated pharmaceuticals.

The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) is pleased to announce Cardinal Health as the winner of the 2016 Excellence in Reusable Packaging award.  “We were impressed with the innovation reflected in all of the entries we received this year,” said Tim Debus, President & CEO of the RPA. “However, Cardinal Health’s holistic approach and the significant business and environmental results they achieved made their submission stand out. In fact, our judges cited the impressive impact demonstrated in multiple areas, including material safety, material reuse, ergonomics, fuel/emissions, and cost savings as key factors in their selection.”

Cardinal Health delivers refrigerated pharmaceuticals to over 24,000 retail chain and independent pharmacies every day. Faced with $4 Million in temperature-related product spoilage annually and the excessive cost and waste of single-use shipping materials, they needed cost-effective packaging solutions that could maintain product within narrow temperature levels and reduce their overall environmental impact. They partnered with Sonoco ThermoSafe to create innovative end-to-end solutions that are quickly becoming the industry standard.

Reusable plastic totes with replaceable molded expanded polystyrene (EPS) liners were already the Cardinal Health standard. The water-based coolant gel-packs within the totes however were replaced with plant-based PureTemp® phase change materials to improve temperature control. Additionally, a custom-designed, ergonomically friendly, reusable bulk pallet shipper that allows both refrigerated and controlled room temperature product to ship on the same truck was developed.  This solution allows Cardinal to avoid the expense of multiple vehicle shipments or moveable bulkheads to create separate temperature environments. Bottom line: product spoilage was reduced by 90%, the phase change coolant packs are used an average of 87 times each, and the bulk shippers are used an average of 192 times and counting. Today, Cardinal Health ships $18 Billion in refrigerated pharmaceuticals in 6.5 Million reusable totes per year, while saving $5.6 Million and avoiding $9.3 Million in additional cost.

“We have worked very hard across our network to reduce packaging waste through the use of sustainable, reusable packing components that protect costly refrigerated pharmaceuticals,” said Chris Anderson, Director of Quality Systems for Cardinal Health. “High quality, qualified, durable, reusable, and sustainable packaging is a must to protect the product while remaining operationally effective. Additionally, reusable packaging reduces the waste that our customers are left to dispose of as well as saves landfill space. While we have been recognized for innovative solutions to maintain temperature and prevent product spoilage, it is also gratifying to be recognized for the sustainability benefits of our approach.”

Cardinal Health will give a presentation on their award-winning entry at the RPA Reusable Packaging Learning Center at Pack Expo International in Chicago on November 8, 2016.

About Cardinal Health: Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE: CAH) is a global integrated healthcare services and products company, providing customized solutions for hospital systems, pharmacies, ambulatory surgery centers, clinical laboratories and physician offices worldwide. The company provides clinically-proven medical products and pharmaceuticals and cost-effective solutions that enhance supply chain efficiency from hospital to home. Cardinal Health connects patients, providers, payers, pharmacists and manufacturers for integrated care coordination and better patient management.  Backed by nearly 100 years of experience, with more than 37,000 employees in nearly 60 countries, Cardinal Health ranks among the top 25 on the Fortune 500.

About Sonoco ThermoSafe: Sonoco ThermoSafe is a leading global provider of temperature assurance packaging for the safe and efficient transport of pharmaceuticals, biologics, vaccines, and other temperature sensitive products. It is a subsidiary of Sonoco (NYSE: SON), a $5 billion global provider of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and packaging supply chain services.

About the Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award: The RPA Excellence in Reusable Packaging award recognizes companies and organizations that have developed and implemented innovative and measurable reusable packaging solutions in a business-to-business supply chain. 2016 marks the 5th year for this annual award program. Submissions are reviewed by an independent panel of judges who are not members of the Association. RPA would like to thank all of this year’s judges:

• Justin Lehrer, Senior Program Manager, and Michelle Fay, Program Manager, StopWaste
• Ben Miyares, President, Packaging Management Institute
• Laszlo Horvath, CPL, Assistant Professor and Director, Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design. Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, Virginia Tech University
• Rick LeBlanc, Editor,

About the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA): The RPA promotes the value and expansion of reusable transport packaging systems. It is a non-profit trade association of leading manufacturers, poolers, distributors, retailers, educators, and others with a commitment to reusable packaging systems and the message of re-use.


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