EcoloPharm: environmentally friendly solutions for a healthy planet!

pills in plastic containers

Summary

Entreprise: EcoloPharm

Region: Montérégie

Program: Quebec Economic Development Program (QEPD)

This financial assistance served to: develop and implement a marketing strategy and the acquisition of advanced equipment.

 

Every day, millions of individuals go to a pharmacy to get a drug prescribed by a physician. Once the contents are used, the container heads to the garbage bin or the blue box. If it is thrown into the garbage, it will be incinerated or landfilled. If it makes it to the sorting centre, it can be reclaimed if and only if the plastic it is made of is recyclable. Otherwise, it will return in the garbage. Thus, waste management involves a number of issues including responsible use of resources in order to prevent them from being wasted. This is a challenge that EcoloPharm wants to tackle.

Environmentally friendly products

EcoloPharm developed three types of containers that it is still producing: Ecolo-Vial™, Eco-Pill™ and Ecolo-Jar™. Being 100% recyclable, their eco-design helps reduce

They are also easier to open, carry, handle and store.

The company was therefore born from this desire to make a change in the pharmacy world and be the first to offer environmentally friendly products in an area that had barely evolved for nearly 40 years and that still generates a huge amount of polluting waste materials. [translation] “Seeing the waste of raw materials, the over-packaging and the excess handling required by the previous generations of vials is utterly shocking”, said Sandrine Milante, who now heads up Plastilec, the family business which, as a sub-contractor, has already produced pharmaceutical vials with "arrows" or the “push & turn” type. [translation] “With EcoloPharm, we have begun to revolutionize the pharmacy world by offering a complete line of environmentally responsible products.”

Close-up of workers

Green in every sense of the word!

The Ecolo-Vial™ is molded from a single piece, a process that makes it less expensive to produce by using, for example, less electricity and fewer raw materials. Being polypropylene based, it is 100% recyclable. It is therefore an ideal solution for customers concerned about environmental issues and waste management. In its green version, protection of the medication against photo-degradation by UV rays is increased, a U.S. standard that benefits everyone!

In business since 2009, EcoloPharm has quickly become a major player both in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. As the exclusive supplier for the pharmacies of Walmart Canada, Sobeys, Lawtons Drugs and Federated Co-ops, as well as a number of outlets under the Jean-Coutu, Uniprix and Pharmaprix banners, the company’s products are used in over 1,500 pharmacies across the country. This figure could double by the end of the year 2015.

EcoloPharm: A best in-its-class company that is receiving many great offers

The launch of the environmentally friendly and innovative products developed by EcoloPharm was quickly followed by honours and acknowledgements. This best-in-its-class Chambly company stands apart and is fostering emulation, earning credibility and reaping awards. One such recognition, the PAC Sustainable Packaging Leadership Award 2012, by Walmart Canada, has even opened wide the doors to Walmart USA for the firm.

To seize this opportunity, the company must first make a few changes both in the Ecolo-Vial™ as well as the equipment needed to mass-produce it. Canada Economic Development, through one of its programs, is getting involved and providing financial support that will allow the company to acquire the state-of-the-art equipment that will optimize its production capacity, as well as to design and implement a marketing strategy that will include various marketing tools for a successful first foray into the United States market.

Managing all of its operations in order to reduce the ecological footprint of pharmacies and their customers is central to the company’s growth strategy. To this end, Chief Executive Officer, Co-owner and Executive Vice-President Sandrine Milante is especially proud of the team she can rely on. She has nothing but praise for the approximately 40 men and women who work with her in Montérégie and elsewhere in the country. [translation] “I am fortunate to work with enthusiastic people who fuel innovation. It’s incredible to feel the determination that they have”. In business for about 15 years, Ms. Milante recently accepted an invitation from Futurpreneur Canada to support future entrepreneurs through the steps connected with planning, managing and growing their company. Chances are that her involvement will bring an added valued which, in turn, will help grow the Canadian economy.

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