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Sustainable packaging for medication home delivery

Optum has eliminated its use of polystyrene, or foam packaging, and adopted innovative, sustainable packaging in its home delivery facilities. The new packaging materials will be used to deliver temperature-sensitive specialty and maintenance prescription medications to consumers nationwide as part of the company’s continued efforts to reduce its environmental footprint.


Products made with polystyrene foam are bulky, non-biodegradable and difficult to dispose of.


Less than 1% of all polystyrene is currently recycled.1


Polystyrene materials fill up nearly 30% of all landfill space around the world.2


Refrigerated medications are insulated with 100% renewable cotton and kept cool with sustainable ice packs. these materials are compostable and more easily recyclable.

Each year our new packaging is projected to save:

Layer 1
3 million pounds of CO2

Equivalent of the weight of almost 8 boeing 747-400s

Layer 2
27.1 million gallons of water

Enough savings to fill up 41 Olympic-sized swimming pools

Layer 3
3.5 million kilowatt hours of energy

Enough to power 335 average American households for an entire year

In 2018,

Optum Rx became the first major pharmacy care services company to introduce fully sustainable temperature-sensitive medication packaging. Today, Optum Rx fills more than 4 million prescriptions each year.
RX-illustration 2
The switch to sustainable packaging is part of broader efforts to reduce the environmental impact of health care. The parent of company Optum Rx, UnitedHealth Group, announced a commitment to net zero emissions by 2035.


1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2018 Tables and Figures. EPA. Published December 2020.

2. Colgate University. Styrofoam: Why It Is Harmful, and Alternatives. Published November 2011.

Optum Rx specializes in the delivery, clinical management and affordability of prescription medications and consumer health products. We are an Optum company - a leading provider of integrated health services. Learn more at


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