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Disposal of medicines and devices


PenCycle aims to recycle/repurpose any Novo Nordisk disposable devices to avoid them potentially being sent to landfill.  It has previously been piloted in 3 areas across the UK and they are now rolling this out nationwide. 

The initiative covers any Novo Nordisk Flextouch or Flexpen disposable pens used in medications to treat diabetes, obesity or growth hormone treatments.  23 million of these pens are used annually each year in the UK and across the 3 areas during the pilot phase, 14,500 pens were returned to be recycled.  This equated to:

246kg of plastic + 60kg of glass + 19kg of metal

all being diverted from landfill or incineration – and being repurposed to new products instead.

For more information, you can visit

Unused medication

All unused medications, and used hormone patches or empty hormone gel packets should be returned to pharmacies for disposal to avoid medicines going to landfill or getting into water courses. Empty inhalers can also be returned to pharmacies for recycling.

Worldwide, over 600 pharmaceuticals or their transformation products have been found in sewage or waste water treatment plant sludge.

This leads to an increased antibiotic resistance and interference with growth and reproduction in aquatic organisms. Recognised negative effects include:

And there are likely to be further affects that we do not yet know!

Read all about Endocrine Disruptors here!