ways to recycle empty medicine packs

How to Recycle Medicine Plastic Packaging

We all need medication from one time to another, so it’s important to know how to recycle medicine. Whether you are using medication daily and go through a lot of plastic containers, or just once in a while – we all need to know how to do this!

It’s important to check your medications and avoid taking any past their expiration date, as well. If you’ve hit an expiration date or have an empty container, here’s what to do.

how to recycle medicine

How to recycle medicine

To start off, if you have any medication that has passed its expiration date, you’ll want to make sure you get rid of it responsibly. In the US, there are various drug take back sites and programs. 

Some medications are safe to flush, in which case they will be on the FDA’s list. You can also put most drugs that are not on the flush list in the household trash, just be sure to remove them from their packaging and mix them in with something undesirable, like cat litter or used coffee grounds.

In the UK, things are a bit simpler. Just take unwanted medication to your pharmacy or chemist, and they will safely dispose of it for you.

How to recycle medicine containers

Medicine containers will also need to be recycled. If your medication came in a plastic bottle, put it in the recycling along with the rest of your plastic recycling. Just be sure to check the recycling symbol on the bottom and make sure the recycling facilities in your area can handle that type of plastic. More on that here.

Blister packs, like those that birth control comes in, can also be recycled. If your blister pack has a cardboard back, be sure to separate that from the front bit before placing both in the recycling. Otherwise, you can put the entire thing in with your recycling, as is.

Of course, our history of recycling is fairly spotty – in the US, 91% of plastic ends up in the landfill even if you put it in the recycling. If you want to be sure that your medicine container is being recycled, Terracycle recently launched a recycling program which allows them to recycle contact lenses and blister packs. More on that here!

Now that you know how to recycle medicine and medicine packaging, it’s time to get to work. If you need additional support with plastic free, sustainable living, check out the Aim Plastic Free Facebook page! We share daily inspiration there and connect with a group of likeminded folks.

Do you have more information on how to do this in your local area? If so, please share with us how in the comment section below.

I hope you’ve found this blog helpful! As always, you can support me and the site by buying me a cup of tea or sharing the site with a friend. Your support means the world to me!


Mia Hadrill

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