Renfrewshire Council

Medicines, medical waste and inhalers

What to do with unused or expired medicines, prescriptions and used inhalers.

What to do with unused or expired medicines and prescriptions

Once medicines have left the pharmacy, they cannot be recycled or re-used by anyone else. Inhalers are recyclable though at participating pharmacies.

Wasted or unused medicine is a serious and growing problem within the NHS that you can help tackle. It is estimated that as much as £300million is wasted every year on unused or partially used medication which cannot be recycled or re-used.

A campaign called Only Order What You Need , working with the NHS, asks people to think carefully before ordering repeat prescriptions.

You can return used medications and prescriptions to a pharmacy or chemist for safe disposal.

Do not flush medicines down the toilet.

What to do with used inhalers

Inhalers can be recycled at participating pharmacies. Ask at your nearest pharmacy if they can recycle your inhalers,

Landfill disposal of inhalers is harmful to the environment both in material waste and in greenhouse gas emissions should the gas canisters become pierced or crushed and the propellant released

If every inhaler-user in the UK returned all their inhalers for one year, this would save 512,330 tonnes of CO2eq - the same as a VW Golf car being driven around the world 88,606 times*

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