As part of a “focus on sustainability”, the multiple will start dispensing some patients’ medicines in 100% compostable bags.
The switch to compostable pharmacy bags will be implemented at Boots’ dispensing hub in Preston, with the bags made from potato starch.
The hub will be responsible for dispensing one in 10 Boots prescriptions, and one in 50 prescriptions across the UK as a whole, Boots said.
The multiple anticipates that by March more than 10 million prescriptions a year will be made from the compostable material, which can be used as a bin liner for food waste.
In May this year, the multiple claimed its dispensing hub accounts for “less than 8%” of its total dispensing after it faced criticism for using plastic dispensing bags for “cost-saving” purposes.
The “custom-built” dispensing hub, which will process 500,000 items a week and support 580 of Boots’ 2,465 branches, supports “high volumes” of repeat prescriptions to be delivered “quickly, safely and reliably”.
Boots pharmacy director Richard Bradley said the use of compostable bags is a “positive step forward” that forms part of the company’s “journey to reduce the impact our business has on the environment”.
Customers told Boots at the beginning of the year that they “didn’t want to receive their medicines in plastic bags”, so it has been testing alternative materials “for some time”, he added.
The new potato starch bags will deliver medicines in a way that is “safe, clean and dry” while “helping to reduce” the reliance on conventional plastic, Mr Bradley said.