GlaxoSmithKline Rolls Out Inhaler Recycling Program

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Photo: Flickr/billaday

Nearly 26 million Americans are living with asthma and 50 million suffer from various forms of allergies, many of whom regularly use respiratory inhalers.

The U.S. arm of British medical giant GlaxoSmithKline recently launched an inhaler recycling program to combat the ever-increasing problem of inhalers winding up in landfills. Currently the program is available in 31 markets, including most major U.S. cities.

The process begins with the patient bringing their used inhaler to their local pharmacy, which is then put in a prepaid package and sent to a recycling plant. There, the inhalers are disassembled. The plastics are recovered to make household products like hangers, flower pots and more. The leftover gasses are recovered and reused and metal canisters are recycled fully. The inhalers are not recycled to produce new inhalers, according to the company.

“As a healthcare company, our mission is to help patients do more, feel better and live longer. As a corporate citizen, our goal is do this in a way that minimizes our impact on the planet,” the company says on its website.

It’s all part of a larger sustainability effort by GSK. The company hopes to cut waste by 25% by 2015 and be fully carbon neutral by 2050.

For more information on the inhaler recycling program, visit GSK’s website.

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