Santen's Dimple Bottle eye-drop container won the Pharmaceutical and Medical Supplies Packaging Category Award in the 2022 Japan Packaging Contest sponsored by the Japan Packaging Institute.
The award recognized the value created by adopting a biomass plastic material with lower environmental impact while retaining the high quality and patient-centered design of the original Dimple Bottle.
The Dimple Bottle, created in 2002, was developed to make it easier for patients who use eye-drops every day. The characteristic dimples on the side of the bottle make it easy to hold and allow a constant rate of drops to be dispensed with just a light push. The size and shape of the cap is also designed so that less effort is required when gripping and opening the bottle. Other patient-centric efforts could be seen on its label where the product name is printed in large characters, and transparent slots are arranged on both sides of the bottle making it easier to check the remaining amount.
As an initiative to reduce environmental impact, in 2021 Santen began using bottles made of biomass plastic for some of its products. The material is made from renewable biomass resources. The carbon source for incineration is derived from the carbon dioxide absorbed through photosynthesis of plants, making the process carbon neutral as it does not increase the overall carbon dioxide in the atmosphere even when incinerated. As such, this is a sustainable resource that can contribute to reducing the use of fossil fuels.
Members of the container development team said the project was rewarding on many levels.
“It is really gratifying to receive this award, because switching this patient-centric container to biomass plastic was actually anything but easy. We had many issues to resolve. In addition to managing costs, we had to prioritize products for deployment, assure content stability and pharmaceutical quality, comply with laws and regulations in each market where the bottles are deployed, and carefully validate the manufacturing process at suppliers and plants. However, by pooling our knowledge and addressing each issue in turn, we managed to overcome these challenges within a short period of 7 months, allowing the company to announce the initiative in April 2020. It gave us a real sense of accomplishment to add a positive environmental element to our existing focus on patients and ophthalmic care. There is growing awareness in our department of the need for ecological sustainability and environmental initiatives, and we’re excited about the potential reforms we can promote that will be both patient-centric and better for society.”
Santen has established an Environmental Management System (EMS) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, waste, and water consumption with the aim of realizing a low-carbon and recycling-oriented society through a wide range of initiatives that go beyond measures such as the eye-drop container improvement. In 2021, Santen formulated its environmental vision for 2050, "Santen Vision for the Earth 2050," which includes CO2 emission reductions and other environmental targets for 2030. For further information, please refer to this press release.