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Rx without the plastic? Cabinet Health launches refillable prescriptions in glass jars

Cabinet Health just unveiled a pharmaceutical game-changer. Its new offering, Cabinet Health Rx, is a refillable glass bottle system for over 150 commonly prescribed medications. A world's first, the initiative aims to tackle healthcare's plastic waste problem; according to Cabinet Health, the pharmaceutical sector is responsible for generating 194 billion single-use plastic medicine bottles annually, with "an estimated 90%+ landing in our oceans, landfills and eventually our bodies as microplastics."

After a customer signs up for the new service, Cabinet Health's pharmacist transfers their prescription. They then receive a personalized glass bottle featuring their name and prescription information. The bottles feature childproof lids and are made of shatter-tested glass. When it's time for a refill, pills are delivered to the customer's door in pouches that can be home-composted.

An open glass jar of pills next to its lid, printed with a prescription

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Cabinet Health started off selling OTC medications for pain relief, allergies, sleep issues, colds and flu, using a similar glass bottle and refill pouch system. Since over 66% of US adults take prescription drugs, the company's expansion into regulated pharmaceuticals is significant. And consumer demand is unmistakable — 20,000 people are on a waitlist for the new service.

Plastic is so ingrained in every element of daily life that it's no wonder microparticles can be found in human placentas and the snow on Mount Everest. Addressing the issue requires rethinking not just products and packaging, but entire systems that industries rely on for convenience, consumer safety and profit.

That won't be easy. As Cabinet Health points out, "Developing the world's first application of compostable materials for OTC medicines involved dozens of design iterations, lots of legal acrobatics and rigorous safety and stability testing." Which sector-specific method or procedure will your company start fearlessly redesigning to protect planet and people?