By Anna Murphy, Consultant Pharmacist for Respiratory Conditions
Approximately 5.2 million in the UK suffer from asthma, and many of these treat their asthma with medicine delivered through an inhaler. Inhalers are disposable devices, and most inhaler users use many throughout the year. You can imagine how many inhalers are thrown away in a year.
GSK is working with pharmacists and providing a recycling scheme to reduce the impact of the environment caused by the landfill disposal of all those inhalers. If every inhaler-user in the UK returned all their inhalers for one year, this would save 512,330 tonnes of CO2eq – this saving would allow a VW Golf car to be driven around the world 88,606 times.
Most interestingly, the pilot scheme of this campaign showed that 29% of inhalers returned were not empty. This is very worrying. It shows that around a third of inhaler users are not using their inhalers properly, and as a result, not getting the right treatment for their asthma. This is a real opportunity for inhaler-users and pharmacists to have a discussion around effective inhaler use. If you use an inhaler, visit your local pharmacy and ask your pharmacist to show you how to make the most of it. It will save you money and improve your health. And when you’re done with your inhaler, drop it into your local pharmacist to prevent unnecessary CO2 emissions.
Complete the Cycle inhaler recycling is now available in over 1,300 pharmacies within three miles of almost 75% of the UK population. Participating pharmacies will have a box behind the counter where staff can deposit used inhalers brought in by customers. Visit www.completethecycle.eu for more information and to find other participating pharmacies.