Some of the ideas that students has come up with to ensure sustainability:

(i) Using waste energy. In this age of mass consumption, people are buying and throwing out things faster than before, this generates a lot of waste and while this continues to drive our economy, it is causing a whole range of environmental problems because of how the waste is being disposed of - by incineration. This results in a lot of harmful gases being produced and it will pollute our environment. The burning of this waste can potentially be used to generate electricity and if more research and more money is pumped into this field, I am quite certain we will see a breakthrough quite soon. This will help solve one of the largest worries in recent times and definitely will help to maintain sustainability in a pharmaceutical company that produces a high amount of waste from their manufacturing of active ingredients as well as packaging of these medicine.

(ii) Produce their active ingredients using continuous process instead of batch to reduce materials used in cleaning the equipment, while ensuring the purity of chemicals via a more stringent filtration process. Of course, altering the management would also yield similar results. For instance, controlling the lighting or using energy efficient machinery would reduce the usage of electricity and in the long run, reliance on fuels.

(iii) Recycling the cartridges of the inhalers produced by GSK would also help reduce the costs and energy in developing new cartridges. I feel that it is slightly wasteful for patients to throw away the entire diskus device after all the cartridges are used up. I feel that this is not very environmentally friendly and the GSK may consider to modify the device such that after the 60 blisters are used up, the patient can chose to buy a refilling cartridge.

(iv)Encouraging of workers to lead more environmentally friendly lifestyle could also be considered.

(v) Some of the ideas for more sustainability would be creating an inhaler that can be refilled. In the visit to 3M, we have learnt that the flex circuits are now attached onto the printer and thus consumers would only have to buy the ink cartridges which could really save the environment by using less raw materials to make the flex circuits. Similarly, for GSK, if a model that is refillable is invented, it would really save the environment by reducing the amount of raw materials used. The casing for the inhaler is made using plastics, which is made from crude oil. As we know, crude oil is a non-renewable natural resource and thus reducing the amount of plastics made can help to reduce the amount of carbon emission too. Coincidentally, raw materials are the largest contributor to GSK's carbon emission and reducing the amount of plastic used can help the environment in the long run. (Norman Lin, Cluster B)



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