MilliporeSigma Drives Packaging Sustainability Through New Program

Apr 15, 2019 10:10 AM ET

As part of MilliporeSigma’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact, the company has launched a new SMASH Packaging Plan — a four-year approach to drive improvement in the sustainability of its packaging. Through this initiative, MilliporeSigma is setting new standards and goals to shrink, secure, switch and save packaging while still meeting the required performance requirements and transit safety regulations.

These four goals are organized under three categories and include specific targets for 2022. MilliporeSigma will transparently report progress toward these targets.

1. Optimize Resources

  • Goal: Shrink — Reduce amount of packaging
  • 2022 Targets:
    • New product packaging aligned with MilliporeSigma’s standards for weight and volume
    • 20 key improvement projects for existing packaging
    • 20 percent reduction of air space in distribution cartons

2.  More Sustainable Materials

  • Goal: Secure — Achieve zero deforestation
  • 2022 Targets:
    • New product packaging aligned with MilliporeSigma’s zero deforestation standards
    • 90 percent of existing packaging aligned with zero deforestation standards
    • 100 percent of packaging from deforestation-risk countries certified sustainably sourced
  • Goal: Switch — Improve plastic sustainability
  • 2022 Targets:
    • New product packaging aligned with MilliporeSigma’s plastic sustainability standards
    • 20 improvement projects to replace existing plastic packaging by more sustainable solutions
    • 20 percent reduction in expanded polystyrene 

3.  Design for Circular Economy

  • Goal: Save — Maximize recycling
  • 2022 Targets:
    • New product packaging aligned with MilliporeSigma’s standards for recyclability
    • 100 percent of fiber-based packaging, not compatible with recycling, replaced
    • 100 percent of products with packaging recycling/disposal guidance 

The Life Science industry needs products quickly, efficiently and safely — calling for high-quality, high-performance packaging. MilliporeSigma is constantly working to ensure it delivers products that help meet customers’ needs, such as sterile environments, temperature control conditions and the protection of products as they are distributed around the world.

Sustainability is vital to MilliporeSigma’s customers, with nearly 90 percent of those surveyed considering it important. With this in mind, the company wants to ensure that the packaging of its more than 300,000 products is sustainable to help its business and its customers reduce environmental impacts and costs. This is especially crucial given the volume of packaging required for the approximately 30,000 packages that MilliporeSigma ships to customers globally each day. This objective drives the company’s ambition to tackle these challenges across three areas:

  • Excess packaging requires more resources than needed, leads to increased logistics and is hard to dispose of.
  • Sourcing packaging materials from non-sustainable sources may contribute to global issues, such as deforestation.
  • Use of packaging not compatible with recycling or not properly labelled leads to excess waste to landfills and to the environment.

The SMASH Packaging Plan demonstrates MilliporeSigma’s commitment to sustainable business throughout the life cycle of its products. This four-year program will allow the company to use less packaging, select more sustainable materials and make it easier to recycle.


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About the Corporate Responsibility Efforts of the Life Science Business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Through its corporate responsibility initiatives, the Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, harnesses the collective expertise, passion and energy of employees to minimize its environmental footprint and positively impact communities around the world.

The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is uniquely positioned to solve the toughest problems in life science through its efforts aligned with strengths in research, innovation and collaboration with the global scientific community. This helps differentiate its business and provides a competitive edge for its customers, while accelerating access to health for people everywhere. The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt Germany demonstrates its commitment to corporate responsibility through extensive programs in three main areas: Greener Products and Solutions—which includes Design for Sustainability, Green Chemistry, Packaging and Recycling initiatives; Employee and Community Engagement; and Sustainable Operations.

About the Life Science Business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, has 20,000 employees and 60 manufacturing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products enabling scientific discovery. Udit Batra is the global chief executive officer of MilliporeSigma.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany completed its $17 billion acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich in November 2015, creating a leader in the $125 billion global life science industry.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 52,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2018, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany generated sales of €14.8 billion in 66 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials. Since its founding 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. For more information about Merck, KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, visit