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Inhaler disposal, please think of the environment.

PaulineHM profile image
59 Replies

I was at a meeting today and mentioned was the disposal of used inhalers. We were encouraged to

take our used inhalers to the pharmacy for appropriate disposal, where the inhalers are subjected to proper disposal avoiding cross contamination and avoidance of plastic emissions.

Perhaps none of you throw old used inhalers into landfill, but if you do, can I persuade you to take an environmental approach and return they to the pharmacy ( any pharmacy in the U.K. will accept them )

Thank you.

59 Replies
sassy59 profile image

Thank you Pauline, great idea.👍

Gladys27 profile image

It is written on my inhaler now to return to pharmacy which I did anyway. Good idea

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Gladys27

Now that is a brilliant nudge to return the empty inhaler to the pharmacy! Thanks for letting us know.

hypercat54 profile image

I didn't know this so thanks Pauline. Will do that in future.

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to hypercat54

Thank you. 💚

lyzbeth profile image

Thank you PaulineHM, I will now give my empty inhalers to the chemist

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to lyzbeth

Thank you…the less that goes to landfill the better!

Rattle profile image

I read about this some years ago and have been taking my old inhalers back ever since but a lot of chemists don’t seem ti be aware of it?

Or maybe just reluctant to take on more work than they have already. Many times they look surprised and ask me what I expect them to do with them!

I also bring back old, unused, out of date medicines to avoid them going into land fill or risk polluting (or poisoning) the surroundings. Same reaction there when I turn up & explain why I’m bringing my bags.

Hopefully this will be communicated and handled better with time as awareness spreads.

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Rattle

Hi, it is my understanding that all pharmacies now accept used, unwanted, out of date medications to destroy them. There was a time when we could recycle inhalers but no more ! The recycling scheme came to an end ! Pity eh ?

Rattle profile image
Rattle in reply to PaulineHM

yes really, hadn’t realised that scheme had finished!

peege profile image

Hi, I wholeheartedly agree with you, I used to religiouly take used inhalers to my pharmacy , he used to look at them as though they were dog turds so I had to remind him that they were for recycling. He closed down so I use another pharmacy nearby, they say they no longer have the facilities to recycle.

thanks, you've reminded me to try again & keep trying until they sort it.

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to peege

Hi, yes recycling scheme ended with our split from EU! Now though the pharmacies accept our used inhalers for environmental disposal. It would be great if you try again. I take mine and tell them they are for disposal.

Hope you are well ? X

peege profile image
peege in reply to PaulineHM

Not bad thanks you. I'm moving soosoon so hopefully new area will be more helpful

Egpa profile image

Hi PaulineHM, Good morning. I save mine up in a box and take them back to the hospital the next time I have an appointment with the consultant or physio. I've been doing this for years. Got quite I pile a present as I have had phone appointments lately. Neaver mind they will keep. Take care and stay safe.

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Egpa

That is wonderful… your local pharmacy should accept them if someone is able to get them there for you ?

whit profile image

i used to take mine to the pharmacy but 2 or 3 years ago he stopped taking them and told me to put in my recycle bin.

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to whit

Hi, as far as I know they won’t be recycled as there is no scheme I know of which recycles them. Thank you for trying anyway.

If you can get them to the pharmacy then they will dispose of them in an environmentally suitable way.

Lizzab profile image

I agree but it would help if they didn't scowl at you when you do.

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Lizzab

Awwwwwww, I bet if you smile at them they will smile back 😊

Patk1 profile image

I recycle mine

deejames profile image
deejames in reply to Patk1

How do you recycle them please ?

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to deejames

As far as I know they are not recyclable. Can you get them to your local pharmacy?

Patk1 profile image
Patk1 in reply to deejames

In my plastic and metal recycling bin.ive done this for donkeys years x

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Patk1

it would be helpful if you can get them back to your local pharmacy for disposal 💚

CDPO16 profile image

My local pharmacies have only fairly recently accepted spent inhalers for recycling. It's a welcome thing.

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to CDPO16

Hi, that is good to know. Are you able to let me know where they recycle them please ? I didn’t think they were recyclable?

CDPO16 profile image
CDPO16 in reply to PaulineHM

Hi, I received a note from my pharmacy the year before last asking me to return spent inhalers to them but I have no idea what they do with them.

Izb1 profile image

About 2 months ago my pharmacy asked me to take them back when used, they have never done this before so maybe its new to my area and a good thing too x

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Izb1

Yay! Great for the planet.

Tykelady profile image

Our local pharmacies quite happily take empty inhalers and Superdrug also took used blister packs but they gave up the lease (thanks to the local council's grand plans).I am now waiting for someone travelling to Lancaster to take my sackful to the branch there.

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Tykelady

Hi, great that they take inhalers. My local library are accepting foil blister packs for recycling. Could you ask your library to think about offering something similar ?

Tykelady profile image
Tykelady in reply to PaulineHM

Good idea, I'll try that.

deejames profile image

I think Pharmacies just land fill them Maybe someone could show me otherwise

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to deejames

Am pretty sure they are not permitted to do that… could you ask them perhaps ?

pegbl profile image

I have always taken mine back to my chemist, so far never been a problem I hope it stays that way 👍

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to pegbl

Yay! Brilliant.

Otto11 profile image

My hubby took mine back to Boots pharmacy yesterday.

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Otto11

You are brilliant!

Otto11 profile image
Otto11 in reply to PaulineHM

Thanks. I’m presuming any Boots pharmacy will take them. Out of interest we also take all our medicine foils to be recycled. Any Superdrug with a pharmacy will have a recycle box. We save them in the garage till we have a carrier bag full then drop them off. We have a lot!

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Otto11

Brilliant !

O2Trees profile image

Im glad you posted this Pauline - I thought everyone always did this but evidently not :) The pharmacists will wonder what has hit them!!

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to O2Trees

Hehe, every little helps though doesn’t it ?

Patk1 profile image
Patk1 in reply to PaulineHM

Every little does help

Superzob profile image

Thanks for that, Pauline. My local chemists stopped taking used Symbicort Turbohalers some years ago, but I’ll check to see if this has changed.

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Superzob

Oh thank you, yes do please check and let us know their response please.

Karenanne61 profile image

Boots accept used inhalers and out of date meds. That's where mine go.

Timberman profile image

Commendable of course but there are two points:

First, is it actually worth the environmental costs associated with the travel to and from the pharmacy?

Second, who is paying for the pharmacy to do this work? I am assuming we are as tax payters. So we need to be sure this is cost effective both fiscally and environmentally and being done properly (and that costs toos). Anyone know?

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Timberman

Am pretty sure that most tax payers pay for recycling services, as we do for example via the Council Tax.

I don’t know who pays for recycling inhalers ? And yes I get it about creating emissions to get used inhalers to the pharmacy.

Does this help ?

Timberman profile image
Timberman in reply to PaulineHM

Yes but it still cannot answer the environmental cost associated with transportation. My plan is to have a container at home to build up to a decent number and then take them on a necessary trip to the pharmacy. So thanks for the heads up. Of course some inhalers do not use CFCs.

garibaldon profile image

in 3 pharmacies local to me a notice is displayed on this very subject

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to garibaldon

That is great!

Jillybaby profile image

I’ve been taking mine to the pharmacy for a long time but for some unknown reason they have suddenly stopped taking the plastic part and only take the canister. Odd!

PaulineHM profile image
PaulineHM in reply to Jillybaby

Oh that is interesting… could you ask them why that is please ?

Jillybaby profile image
Jillybaby in reply to PaulineHM

Next time I go to pharmacy I will Pauline. Luckily our plastics, some of which have to be put into the household waste bin, go to produce biofuel and not into land fill.

Lee_Scoresby profile image
Lee_Scoresby in reply to Jillybaby

I put the plastic part in the household plastic recycling, although I have a feeling that, because they don’t carry the recycling mark, they are actually made from thermoplastic which, of course is landfill fodder. I’m afraid I’m being a bit lazy and (a) hoping that I’m wrong and (b) the recycling centre will make the decision for me and take responsibility for them.

Alberta56 profile image

I took a bagful of used meds etc. to my pharmacy recently and they would not accept them. They said their recycling bin was full and they were waiting for the disposal agency to collect them. Told me to phone next time I came into town and see if they could take them. They sit in my cupboard because I don't go into town very often.

Ergendl profile image

I do that about once a year. At first the assistant at my pharmacy looked confused, but now they accept them without question.

Patk1 profile image

Re environmental impact - I've shared a post on choice of Inhalers

PaulineHM profile image

Hi, yes I saw your post, thank you, those comparisons of emissions were helpful .

Go well.


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