UK’s first medicine blister packet recycling programme launches in Superdrug and independent pharmacies

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New recycling programme

For the first time, medicine blister packets can now be recycled at participating pharmacy drop-off points nationwide. The‘Little Packs, Big Impact’ recycling initiative, from the leaders in gut health, Buscopan® and Dulcolax®, is a partnership with recycling innovators TerraCycle®, which allows customers to recycle any empty prescription and over-the-counter medicine blister packets, simply and freely, by dropping them in dedicated bins the next time they need to visit their local participating Superdrug or independent pharmacy.

TerraCycle will then convert the packaging into reusable raw materials using its unique recycling process – preventing empty packs spending a lifetime in landfill. What’s more, people can also support fundraising for local schools, charities and non‐profits for every empty blister packet that gets recycled as part of the ‘Little Packs, Big Impact’ scheme.

Joining the ‘Little Packs, Big Impact’ recycling movement is easy. You can find the location of your nearest drop-off point at www.terracycle.com/en-GB/brigades/medicine-packet-uk (or find out how to ask your local pharmacy to join the programme). Why not set a reminder on your phone to drop off your empty blister packs next time you need to visit your local participating pharmacy?

Research by Buscopan and Dulcolax carried out with over 2,000 UK adults, as part of the ‘Little Packs, Big Impact’ campaign, revealed nearly half of us (49%) use medicines (packaged in blister packs) on a daily basis, with minor ailments like headaches (85%) and digestive health (43%) ranking as some of the main health conditions contributing to packaging waste. Despite such wide use, 77% of people appear seemingly baffled as they don’t know what part of a blister pack can be recycled, as nearly a third (29%) incorrectly put them in household recycling bins, even though these aren’t accepted by most local councils. Many are also unaware of the wider environmental impact, as one in five (20%) admit not knowing what happens to blister packs thrown into rubbish bins or where they end up.

Silvina Vilas, UK marketing director at Sanofi Consumer Healthcare, maker of Buscopan and Dulcolax, says: “As a nation, we rely on medicines to manage self-treatable and long-term conditions, yet these little packs have a big impact on the environment.  Until now, there hasn’t been an accessible solution for recycling medicine blister packaging. We believe in a healthy gut and a healthy planet, so are starting a movement to make it easier for people to recycle blister pack waste. We want to encourage pharmacies and the public to get involved with this recycling initiative, so we can let these little blister packs live again as reusable products like outdoor furniture.”

Laure Cucuron, general manager for TerraCycle Europe, adds: “Blister packs are made of a complex mix of difficult-to-recycle materials required to protect medicines, including plastic and aluminium foil, which are not accepted by council recycling systems so end up in household waste. Now people can play their part to help the environment with a small change – by dropping empty blister packs at participating Superdrug and independent pharmacies through this scheme, their blister packs can now be recycled for the first time.