Inhaler recycling

We are involved in a medicines waste campaign and would like you to join us in contributing to a more sustainable environment.

As a practice we continually monitor our prescribing to ensure that our patients receive the most cost effective and medically appropriate treatment. We are presently working closely with the West Cheshire Medicines Management Team and Cheshire & Merseyside Care Integration Board (CMICB) and are committed to using NHS resources in the best possible way in the current economic climate.

With this in mind, we have been reviewing the supply of inhalers used in the treatment of Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Did you know...

  • Every year thousands of unused inhalers end up in household waste, either due to changes in medication regime or improper use
  • It is estimated that as much as £300 million of NHS funds is wasted every year on unused or partially used medication
  • Some inhalers contain harmful greenhouse gases
  • All inhalers should be returned to the pharmacy to be recycled. This both improves our green footprint and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

How can you help?

  • Only order your inhaler if you need one. Before you order your repeat prescription, check your stock at home.
    • Check your inhaler dose counter (only on some inhalers), this will change to red when there are 20 doses left. This is when you will need to re-order.
    • If your pharmacy orders your medication on your behalf, let them know you do not need a further inhaler.
    • Check your prescription bag before you leave the pharmacy, return any unwanted inhalers whilst inside the pharmacy. If you leave the pharmacy but want to return your inhaler later, this will need to be destroyed and cannot be issued to another patient.
  • Check your inhaler is working correctly and clean it regularly.
  • Ensure that you are attending the surgery for your asthma/COPD reviews. The nurse will check that you are both using the correct inhaler for your condition, and that your inhaler technique is correct.
  • Do not waste your inhaler by spraying a test dose. To check your inhaler is empty, either shake the canister or check the dose counter.
  • When your inhaler is empty, return to your pharmacy so they can recycle it in the most environmentally safe way.
    • Please note – spacers cannot currently be recycled, but please dispose of these safely and responsibly.

Are you using your Inhaler correctly?

Using the correct inhaler technique will both reduce the amount of waste and improve the effectiveness of the medicine.

Watch a short video from Asthma UK to learn how to use your inhaler properly.

Published on 31 October 2022