TerraCycle, GlaxoSmithKline recycling inhalers

Mike Verespej

Published: October 26, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Medical, Recycling

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 26, 2:30 p.m. ET) — Drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline LLC expects to recover at least 100,000 empty respiratory inhalers in the initial year of a first-of-a-kind nationwide recycling program in the United States.

The Complete the Cycle program was rolled out Oct. 24 to 2,000 pharmacies in 31 cities after a one-year pilot program at 53 pharmacies in five cities collect 2,700 inhalers, said Nathan Rohner, U.S. environmental sustainability manager for Philadelphia-based GSK.

“It is good for our patients, good for pharmacists and good for the environment. It helps everyone reduce waste to landfills,” Rohner said.

GSK has a similar program in the United Kingdom and a pilot inhaler recycling program in Santo Domingo, Chile.

The U.S. program is being administered and managed by recycler TerraCycle, which also has a year-old laboratory garment and glove recycling clean room initiative in Pleasanton, Calif., with Kimberly-Clark Professional.

“TerraCycle sends the collection boxes and the informational material to the pharmacies,” Rohner said.

The idea to recycle inhalers came from a 2008 survey of U.S. pharmacies.

GSK has signed up about 10 percent of the 20,000 pharmacies in the 31 markets where it has launched the program and expects more to join as word of the program spreads.

“Many stores in the pilot were pretty excited that we rolled out the program,” said Rohner. “They wanted back in when we launched it because it is easy and no cost.”

Consumers will be able to drop the empty inhalers into the collection boxes — which are about the size of a shoebox and have an opening on one end — at participating pharmacies, or return them to the pharmacy counter if the collection box is behind the counter.

Inside the box, there is a pre-paid self-sealable United Parcel Service bag, which the pharmacy ships to the Glaxo-contracted recycler, Material Matters Inc. in Asheville, N.C., which separates the metal canister and the plastic casing.

Inhalers of all brands with plastics casing can be recycled, not just those sold by GlaxoSmithKine, which is considered the top U.S. seller of respiratory medicines.

The recycled plastics will be used to make products such as garden pots and plastic hangers, Glaxo said.

Rohner said the program supports GSK’s goal to reduce its waste sent to landfills by 25 percent by 2015.

“We chose respiratory inhalers because they have recyclable components to them,” Rohner said. “But we will be looking to grow the program” into more products.

The 31 cities were chosen, he said, because they have a “high recycling perception” and because they account for annual sales of 30 million inhalers, or one-third of the inhalers sold annually in the United States.

Pharmacies promote the program to consumers by stapling the inhaler recycling brochure to the prescription bag and putting a recycling sticker and logo on the box that contains the inhaler.

Some of the larger cities in the program are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Kansas City. A complete list is at www.GSKCompleteTheCycle.com.

Consumers interested in recycling inhalers on their own may also ship their empty inhalers — at their own expense — to Material Matters, 730 Brady Ave., Asheboro, N.C. 27203.


Comments

TerraCycle, GlaxoSmithKline recycling inhalers

Mike Verespej

Published: October 26, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Hungarian recycler launches new unit

September 15, 2014 10:59 am ET

Hungarian plastics recycler Polyter-Mix kft has launched a new 1,400-square-meter production hall at a site in Körösladány in southeastern Hungary.    More

Image

US pharma packaging worth $22 billion by 2018

September 8, 2014 1:14 pm ET

Demand for pharmaceutical packaging products in the United States is expected to increase by 4.9 percent annually and the value of the market reach...    More

Image

Tecomet buys implant manufacturing specialist

September 4, 2014 12:16 pm ET

WILMINGTON, MASS. — Tecomet Inc., a Wilmington company that makes orthopedic implants, has purchased 3D Medical Manufacturing Inc., Riviera...    More

Image

JV aimed at pharmaceutical and medical device packaging

September 4, 2014 12:10 pm ET

Mocon Inc. and Life Packaging Technology LLC have formed a joint venture aimed at improving time-to-market for pharmaceutical and medical device...    More

Image

Acquisition gives Sunningdale an injection molding footprint in India

September 3, 2014 10:29 pm ET

SINGAPORE — Injection molder and toolmaker Sunningdale Tech Ltd. on Sept. 3 announced plans to buy First Engineering Ltd., a manufacturer of pre...    More

Market Reports

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events