Recycling and waste management

In our operations, we aim to reduce waste, use materials effectively and ensure that the recycling rate is as high as possible.

Most of the waste generated in Oriola’s operations comes from the packaging materials of the goods arriving at our warehouses and distribution centres. Enhancing waste recycling is one of the key initiatives of our environmental work. Efficient recycling allows the reuse of packaging waste as raw material instead of combusting it for energy. This saves natural resources, reduces CO2 emissions and minimises material waste. More detailed description of our waste flows can be found from Annual Review 2022.

During 2022, Oriola continued the systematic work to reduce waste and increase recycling by, for instance, paying special attention to increasing employee awareness on the topic. Our efforts included recycling campaigns in both Sweden and Finland, training materials and sessions.

Oriola's capability to sort waste has been systematically increased in recent years, and currently there are over 10 different sorting categories available in our biggest warehouses in Finland and Sweden, with cardboard, plastic and waste to energy being the largest categories. During 2022, we introduced two new sorting categories at our Swedish distribution centre. In addition, new waste compactors to mitigate waste management were introduced. As a result, in 2022 Oriola’s recycling rate increased to 83% (79% in 2021). Moreover, we achieved the annual recycling target set for the distribution centre in Espoo (recycling rate 85%). Our goal is to expand the recycling of non-pharmaceutical waste to 87% at Group level by the end of 2023.

To reduce waste, we deliver products from our distribution centres to recipients mainly in reusable transport boxes. This way, we minimise the amount of packaging waste in the logistics chain of the products we distribute. Additionally, Oriola has improved the collection of wooden pallets and shipped over 108 tonnes of reusable pallets back to suppliers in 2022. 

*Waste generated in everyday business operations and collected from Oriola Group facilities

Preventing medicine waste from ending up in the environment

In Finland, all pharmaceutical waste from human or animal healthcare and households is classified as hazardous waste. Returning unused medicines to a pharmacy prevents them from entering the environment through mixed waste or sewage systems. We promote sustainable and safe medicine use in our daily operations and encourage consumers to return unused or expired medicines to a pharmacy. In 2022, we participated for the fourth year in the Finnish pharmaceutical sector’s joint campaign to protect the Baltic Sea. The campaign aims to raise consumer awareness of the importance of the appropriate disposal of pharmaceutical waste.

Another part of waste handling is Oriola’s collaboration with several charity organisations to which we donate non-pharmaceutical products that can still be used but cannot be sold due to close or just passed expiration date. These actions have been implemented successfully earlier in Finland, and in 2022, Oriola started making donations through selected partners also in Sweden.