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Pharmacy scheme saves more than 170,000 inhalers from landfill

Practice The Complete the Cycle inhaler initiative has prevented 1,216 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, GSK has said, as Superdrug signs up to the scheme

Pharmacies have saved more than 170,000 inhalers from ending up in landfill over the past two years in a UK-wide inhaler recycling scheme.


More than one in six pharmacies has signed up to GSK's Complete the Cycle initiative, meaning 80 per cent of the UK population is within three miles of a participating pharmacy, the manufacturer told C+D last week (August 7).


The 1,920 participating pharmacies had prevented 1,216 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere, the equivalent of driving a 1.4 VW Golf TSI around the world 211 times, GSK estimated. UK patients use 73 million inhalers annually, it added, of which 63 per cent end up in landfill.


GSK says that its inhaler recycling scheme has prevented 1,216 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere

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GSK revealed its results as Superdrug announced it had joined the scheme and was collecting inhalers at its 203 pharmacies. Superdrug healthcare director Steve Gray said the company was delighted it was easier for customers to "breathe new life" into their used inhalers.


GSK launched the recycling initiative in February 2011 with a pilot at 40 Co-operative pharmacies and collected 6,000 used inhalers in six months. During the pilot it discovered that some of the inhalers were not empty, giving pharmacists the opportunity to help patients improve their inhaler technique.


The scheme spread to 200 Co-operative stores and was made available to all pharmacies by November 2011.


Any inhaler can be recycled, not just those manufactured by GSK.



Are there any other medical devices that could benefit from a similar scheme?

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3 Comments

James Tibbs, Superintendent Pharmacist

This is such a brilliant scheme. Hopefully more like this to come

Leon The Apothecary, Student

A step in the right direction to solve the sheer volume of wastage within the NHS.

geoffrey gardener, Community pharmacist

Nice to feel appreciated, perhaps we would all be better off abandoning our dispensaries and moving to our local tip to help with recycling. Less agro, and probably better pay,

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