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The UK's primary care sustainability network

2. Inhaler recycling and returning

Inhalers cannot be recycled or disposed of with household waste so patients should be encouraged to return them to pharmacies.

Inhaler recycling schemes are patchy. If there is no recycling scheme locally, it is still important for inhalers to be returned to pharmacies so they can be incinerated with medical waste rather than go to landfill. All pharmacies should offer this service.

The process

Step 1: Search for all patients prescribed inhalers

Create list of all patients with inhalers on repeat prescriptions.

Resource:

  • PCIT Search any inhaler on repeats
Step 2: Send information to patients

Send correct info to patients (to return to pharmacy for recycling or disposal).

You can send patients an information leaflet on returning inhalers to the pharmacy for safe disposal.

PrescQIPP have information leaflets and banners you can add to websites about this.

Resources:

Optional step 3: Update prescription templates

You could also update prescription templates on System One to give recycling or disposal advice.

Resource:

Optional Step 4: Check if inhaler recycling offered locally

Currently we are not aware of any national inhaler recycling scheme. A previous GSK complete the cycle schme and the TEVA terracyle scheme for inhalers have both sadly ended. There is currently a recycling scheme being piloted in Leicestershire.

Resources

SMS templates

Inhaler disposal

Did you know your inhaler should be disposed of safely by your pharmacy, not put in the bin at home?  Return your inhaler to the pharmacy – this protects the environment. https://s40639.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/Returning-inhalers-poster-greener-practice-toolkit-v1.1.pdf

 

Optional: Inhaler recycling (if this is available at a local pharmacy)

Did you know your inhaler can be recycled by your local pharmacy? Don’t put it in household waste or recycling. Bring it to [pharmacy name] for recycling.

 

Optional: more information on inhaler disposal

For more info on how you should dispose of your used or unwanted inhalers, see https://www.recyclenow.com/recycle-an-item/inhalers