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University research: Packaging materials and the global environment

In this Q&A, Healthcare Packaging (HCP) talks with S. Paul Singh (PS), Ph.D. and professor at Michigan State University's School of Packaging.

HCP: What are your specific responsibilities?

PS: I am a professor and also the director of the Consortium of Distribution Packaging Research. My responsibilities include teaching, research, and outreach in distribution packaging and its impact on new packaging materials and packaging systems as it applies to various industries.

HCP: What do you see as the most critical packaging issues in the next year or two?

PS: The main areas of research that our program is involved in are measuring the global distribution environment and development of new packaging materials and their impact on the environment. The world is getting served from companies located in one or two plants as opposed to regional manufacturing areas. Global distribution of products from such locations is critical in the growing world trade. In addition, development of new and sustainable packaging materials is critical for providing products for the future.

HCP: What trends do you see emerging in healthcare packaging?

PS: I see a shift in both the development and consumption of drugs in the Asian region. Recent advances in setting up pharmaceutical, biotech, and healthcare industries and research centers in China, India, and Singapore clearly show this.

HCP: What impact does oil and resin pricing have in the packaging market?

PS: Recent trends indicate that it had about a 10% impact on costs of finished packaging. I do not know if this can continue as it will bring bio-based materials into a competitive pricing situation.
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