Recycling and safe disposal

There are hundreds of pharmacies up and down the UK who will take your inhaler back for recycling. Over a million inhalers have been recycled in the UK now, which is great, but that’s still less than 1% of all inhalers every year.

There are two main schemes run by pharmaceutical companies. The biggest is run by GSK: Click here to find your nearest participating pharmacy. They will accept any inhaler currently prescribed in the UK. A smaller scheme is run by Teva in association with Terracycle (scroll down to see map of pharmacies).

The plastic and aluminium will be recycled, and more importantly any left over propellant gas is captured and sold to the refrigeration or air conditioning industry, where it’s use and disposal should be tightly regulated.

Don’t put your inhaler in kerbside recycling – it will not be recycled.

If you don’t have any facilities nearby to recycle your inhaler, it is still well worth taking metered dose inhalers back to your pharmacy. The inhaler will be incinerated in medial waste, which is a surprisingly good way to dispose of them. The damaging propellants are broken down by the high temperatures into other products which are far less powerful greenhouse gases. More details available here on the recycle now site.