Reusable Healthcare Packaging

Derrick Lin


Design: Leadoff Studio
Photographer: Takamasa Ota
Location: United States
Project Type: Produced
Client: Ro Healthcare
Product Launch Location: United States
Packaging Contents: Pharmaceuticals
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Tyvek
Printing Process: Screen printing

Leadoff Studio designed a Tyvek pouch as packaging for Ro Healthcare to encourage reuse, rather than being disposed of right away. It is made of recycled material and can be recycled if the user chooses not to keep it. We estimate that it is a reduction in carbon footprint from their original packaging by over 90%.

We designed a pouch that acts as a vessel for Ro to ship any of their prescription types and quantities. The experience of using the pouch feels more like a personal item, and unlike a clinical medical pill bottle or box. Subtlety, discretion, and comfort were key factors in designing the user’s experience, since these contain a prescription that is often personal or private. The pouch was designed with scalability in mind for the growing healthcare start-up, so it could become a canvas for any of the future brands under the Ro umbrella.

We designed the pouch so it can be easily returned to Ro for batch recycling.

Back Story
Ro’s first brand was Roman, which focused on men’s health. We designed the packaging that they launched with- a box focusing on the user’s experience as it was their first touchpoint with the telemedicine brand which does prescription via its app. In the 2 years since launch, Ro expanded to 2 more brands and has been growing its customer base exponentially (the startup was valued earlier this year at $500 million). Ro asked us to create a new packaging experience that would reduce costs while maintaining the branded experience. Price Conscious

The simpler pouch design reduces the amount of materials and production processes from the initial packaging. We intentionally sized it to ship in a discrete flat mailer that fits inside a standard mailbox, dramatically reducing Ro’s costs in shipping to their customers. Through these design decisions, we reduced the unit cost by 70% and the shipping costs by 85%.

Environmentally Conscious
While lowering costs was key, our studio pushes all of our clients to be conscious  of their environmental impact. Some of Ro’s members have a monthly subscription that includes new packaging with each shipment. We designed the pouch to be discrete and considered the future use cases when sizing it in order to encourage continued use rather than being thrown away after the prescription runs out. The pouch is built-to-last and be reused, as opposed to cardboard which is built to dispose. It is made of waterproof, tear-resistant and extremely durable Tyvek. The material is made from 100% recycled HDPE, and can be recycled at the end of the product’s lifecycle.

In production, there is a significant reduction in water used during manufacturing from previous cardboard packaging. There are no adhesive chemicals are used in assembly, all parts are stitched together.

In shipping, the flat design and a 90% reduction in weight from the previous packaging allow for efficiency in freight after production. This also allows each pouch to be shipped to Ro’s members in a flat recyclable mailer sleeve.

We are working with Ro to set up a program to assist their members in recycling their unwanted pouches. Tyvek is a recyclable material, but cannot get collected by most curbside programs. We designed the pouch to fit in a standard envelope and ship with single standard stamp so Ro’s members can easily mail the bag back when they are finished. Ro then disassembles the collected bags and returns the material to DuPont to be recycled into new products.

What’s Unique?
We were prompted by Ro to design new packaging that would reduce their costs. By creating a lightweight and flat vessel, we were able to reduce the costs of shipping by 85%. The simple construction of the packaging helped reduce the unit costs by 70%.

During the project, we wanted to advocate for sustainability, and we knew in order to do that we’d still have to hit the client’s request on pricing. We were able to reduce costs while creating a design that in produced using mostly recycled material. The material can be returned to the manufacturer in batches to be recycled.

Most important, however, is that we created a package that feels more like a lifestyle item. The pouch is extremely durable and features a subtle soft-touch exterior, so Ro’s members can reuse it for whatever they like once their prescription run-outs.