Sanofi recycling boxes for medicine blister packs

Waste antidote: Medicine packaging recycling arrives in UK pharmacies

TerraCycle has added medicine blister packs to its growing array of recycling collection services in the UK, as part of a new partnership with gut health brands Buscopan and Dulcolax.

Consumers visiting health and beauty retailer Superdrug’s stores or one of several independent pharmacies in the UK can now recycle any empty prescription and over-the-counter medicine blister packets by depositing them in dedicated bins. The empty packets are then converted into raw materials which can be reused, according to TerraCycle.

Buscopan and Dulcolax are part of the biopharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi’s stable of brands. Sanofi is first to market the recycling initiative which, under the ‘Little Packs, Big Impact’ slogan, aims to put in place 400 pharmacy drop-off locations in the first year of operation.

Silvina Vilas, UK marketing director at Sanofi, commented: “Many people rely on medicines to manage self-treatable and long-term conditions, yet until now there hasn’t been a solution for the growing problem of medicine packaging waste.”

A study of 2,00Recycling blister packs is not a straightforward process0 adults by Buscopan and Dulcolax found 65% of consumers use medicines in blister packs at least once a week, with headaches/migraines and hay fever among the conditions contributing most to this type of packaging waste.

Laure Cucuron, general manager for TerraCycle Europe, said the complex mix of materials used in blister packs to protect medicines makes them difficult to recycle.

They are made with plastics and aluminium foil, which are not accepted by most council recycling systems across the UK, so they often end up in household waste.

“Blister pack recycling has been something that the public has long been asking TerraCycle to add to its roster of recycling options,” Cucuron added.

“Now pharmacies and their customers can both play their part to help the environment with a small change by recycling empty blister packs through the Little Packs, Big Impact scheme for the first time.”

US-based but internationally present, TerraCycle, already runs several recycling services across the UK, using retail stores and pick-up points in typically high footfall areas to place collection bins for difficult-to-recycle items such as baby food pouches and crisp packets. TerraCycle is also the company behind Loop, a reusable packaging business that works with grocers such as Tesco in the UK and Carrefour in France.

[Image credits: Sanofi]

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