Could plastic replace glass in sterile media applications?

Published: 14-Jun-2024

Plastic bottles to be used in sterilised media could be more environmentally friendly than their glass counterparts, Cherwell explains

Cherwell, a cleanroom microbiology solutions specialist, has introduced a new Redipor Plastic Bottle prepared media range.

This initiative was requested by a large pharmaceutical company who was aiming to meet its sustainability targets.

Could plastic be the sustainable option?

The new terminally sterilised plastic bottled media products have been developed to offer a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to glass bottled media for use in sterile pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Recycling plastic requires much less time and energy compared to glass. Glass requires around 900 °C of heat to melt and recycle, whereas plastic has a lower temperature requirement of approximately 200 °C. 

This ‘carbon expense’ of glass is a key reason for adopting the use of plastic in aseptic manufacturing environments; in some regions, such as Scandinavia, this is considered a major factor to supporting the drive towards the United Nations 17 Sustainability Development Goals.

Making transport easier

Available in 250mL and 1L sizes, the new products are made from materials that meet USP Class VI requirements and presented in a 45mm, wide-mouth format with a square-base. 

This facilitates sterility testing applications and makes them strong with a high shatter resistance, as well as being easier to handle, pack and store. 

Not only does this minimise waste from breakage, but also transportation costs as they are tougher and weigh less than glass.
Microbiology Product Specialist at Cherwell, Wan Li Low commented:“A consumable’s overall carbon footprint is influenced by many factors, such as the material used, manufacturing processes, weight, transportation, recycling, reusability and end-of-life disposal. Although glass is often thought of as a sustainable material due to its recyclability, it’s actually carbon expensive to manufacture, distribute and recycle. Whereas, when considering its entire lifecycle from production to recycling, plastic actually presents a lower carbon footprint, which has been shown by recent studies [1].”


You may also like