A new healthcare company is hoping to replace billions of plastic pill bottles with reusable and biodegradable alternatives
Spotted: Most of us, even those who use a large number of prescription medications, probably give little thought to the plastic waste resulting from healthcare. Yet, around 190 billion plastic bottles for over-the-counter (OTC) medicine were sold in 2021 – and although most of them are recyclable, in reality very few are actually reprocessed. Now, startup Cabinet Health has developed the world’s first refillable and decomposable medicine system.
Under the system, pharmacy HealthHavenRX refills prescriptions using Cabinet Health’s products, which include refillable bottles and biodegradable pouches. Initial orders are sent with one of Cabinet’s reusable glass bottles and a magnetic label. Medicine refills will then be sent in a pouch made from compostable materials that are 100 per cent earth-digestible and city-compost friendly.
The company also sells over-the-counter medicines in its packaging, including those for hay fever relief, pain relief, cold and flu treatment, and digestive health. The company says that, by switching to its refillable system, customers can eliminate up to one pound of plastic annually and hundreds of pounds of plastic in a lifetime.
Cabinet Health is a Certified B Corporation, and as such is focused on balancing purpose with profit. Russell Gong, co-founder and president of Cabinet Health, stated: “The plastic waste crisis is a public health crisis. Our vision is that one day every medicine cabinet, pharmacy and retail shelf is free of single-use medicine plastic and replaced with sustainable, high quality and affordable Cabinet Health remedies.”
The company recently announced it has raised $17 million (around €16 million) in a combination of debt and equity, bringing the company’s total funding to $23.6 million (around €22.3 million).
From bioplastics to biodegradables, there is a tremendous amount of interest in developing green alternatives to plastics. Some innovations recently spotted by Springwise include compostable footwear that eliminates plastics in shoes, and a new method for moulding cellulose nanofibres that could allow the replacement of conventional plastics with a biodegradable alternative.
Written By: Lisa Magloff