Recycling and waste management

In our operations, we aim to reduce waste, use materials effectively and ensure that the recycling rate is as high as possible.

We deliver products from our distribution centres to recipients mainly in reusable transport boxes. This way, we minimise the amount of packaging waste in the logistics chain of the products we distribute.

Most of the waste generated in Oriola’s operations comes from the packaging materials of the goods arriving at our warehouses and distribution centres. Enhancing waste recycling is one of the key initiatives of our environmental work. Efficient recycling allows the reuse of packaging waste as raw material instead of combusting it for energy. This saves natural resources, reduces CO2 emissions and minimises material waste. More detailed description of our waste flows can be found from GRI supplement 2021.

Our goal is to expand the recycling of non-pharmaceutical waste to 85% at Group level. The possibilities to sort waste have been systematically increased in recent years. In 2021 for example, we enhanced the collection of plastic packages and cardboard boxes in our dose dispensing units in Finland and Sweden. We also improved the collection of reusable and recyclable wooden pallets at our Swedish distribution centre to minimise waste and promote the circular economy. As a result, in 2021 Oriola’s recycling rate increased to 79% (74% in 2020).

*Waste generated in everyday business operations and collected from Oriola Group facilities

Preventing medicine waste from ending up in the environment

Returning unused medicines to a pharmacy prevents them from entering the environment through mixed waste or sewage systems. Our Swedish pharmacy chain, Kronans Apotek, collects hundreds of tonnes of pharmaceutical waste annually and delivers it for appropriate disposal. We encourage consumers to return unused or expired medicines to a pharmacy.

In 2021, we participated for the third year in the Finnish pharmaceutical sector’s joint campaign to protect the Baltic Sea. The campaign aims to raise consumer awareness of the importance of the appropriate disposal of pharmaceutical waste.

The most efficient way to avoid medicines entering the environment is to prevent the production of pharmaceutical waste. There are many ways to promote the responsible use of medicines throughout the sector, from optimising packaging sizes to providing expert pharmaceutical advice in pharmacies. Dose dispensing is another way to minimise pharmaceutical waste, because patients receive their daily medication as ready-to-use doses.