There are 560,000 people currently living with respiratory-related illnesses in Ireland with 4.4 million inhalers being sold in Ireland each year.
Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland has launched the first national respiratory inhaler recycling initiative.
The launch took place at O’Connor’s Pharmacy in Dublin 4 and is part of a nationwide pilot scheme to encourage people living with respiratory-related illnesses to recycle their used or out of date inhalers.
It’s believed that around 560,000 people in Ireland are living with a respiratory-related illness and in 2019 alone, 4.4 million inhalers used which is a rising number on previous years.
“Teva is an environmentally conscious company and we are continuously taking steps towards improving our impact on the environment”
There are currently no free public recycling facilities available to dispose of used inhalers in Ireland.
At the moment, people living with respiratory-related illnesses are encouraged to return their used inhalers to their local pharmacy, where they are then disposed of with other medical waste through incineration. However, it is not known how many consumers are disposing of their inhalers correctly.
When inhalers are disposed incorrectly, they are sent to landfill which is harmful to the environment both in plastic material waste and in greenhouse gas emissions as the residual gas from canisters may be released to the atmosphere. Both are damaging to Ireland’s environment and ecosystem.
Teva has partnered with TerraCycle, a global recycling group, to bring its Zero Waste Box scheme to 100 Irish pharmacies across Ireland in a 12-month recycling pilot scheme.
“We also know that in all areas of life, consumers are increasingly supportive of environmentally sustainable initiatives”
TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box is a cardboard box that collects, and stores used inhalers until they are collected by TerraCycle and then recycled to help make new products including playground materials and garden equipment.
Commenting at the launch, Teva’s speciality medicines director Clodagh Kevans said; “Teva is an environmentally conscious company and we are continuously taking steps towards improving our impact on the environment. One of those steps is this new pilot programme which will provide pharmacists and people with respiratory-related illnesses the opportunity to recycle their inhalers for the first time in Ireland.
“We at Teva Ireland realise that our work and contributions to creating healthy communities are essential for leading a responsible business. We also know that in all areas of life, consumers are increasingly supportive of environmentally sustainable initiatives.
“We’re excited to launch this pilot with the Asthma Society of Ireland, and we hope that with their support, with buy-in from our pharmacy partners and people living with respiratory-related illnesses, this pilot programme can make a difference.”
People living with respiratory-related illnesses can find out where their nearest participating pharmacy is located by visiting www.inhalerrecycling.ie.
By Stephen Larkin
Published: 28 February, 2020