Dealing with Difficult Waste: Can You Recycle Blister Packs?
YES! Blister packs can be recycled!
Medication is an undeniable part of life, creating a waste dilemma for those of us dedicated to reducing our impact. It raises the question: Can you recycle blister packs? While their plastic and metal composition complicates recycling, and they aren’t accepted in typical kerbside programs, certain pharmacies and online retailers do accept them. Explore this guide to discover how to give your blister packs a new life and steer clear of contributing to landfill waste.
What Is a Blister Pack?
A blister pack is a type of packaging made from several materials, such as plastic, aluminum, and cardboard. It’s designed to keep individual items in separate compartments and is often used for products like medications or vitamins. Depending on the product and the type of blister pack it’s packaged in, it can be made of different materials — including plastic, metal foil, paperboard, and more. Generally, blister packs used for medication are made from plastic & metal foil.
Can You Recycle Blister Packs?
It is possible to recycle blister packs but you need to collect them and drop them at a collection point to be processed by a specialized recycler. The two organisations that currently process blister packs in Australia are Terracycle & Pharmacycle.
Why Can’t Blister Packs Be Put In Mixed Recycling?
Because blister packs are made from two materials – aluminum and plastic, the packaging requires specialised machinery to separate the materials before they can be recycled.
Do not put blister packs in your recycling bin
Putting items you hope will be recycled into your recycling bin is known as wishcycling and it actually does more harm than good. Materials that are not able to be recycled contaminate the waste stream and make the sorting process more costly because it requires extra labour and can cause damage to equipment.
What Happens To Blister Packs Recycled By Pharmacycle?
“Once collected, blister packs are transported to one of our processing facilities. Here they are put through a series of mechanical recycling processes to separate the aluminium from the plastic. Finally, the separated aluminium and plastic materials are sent to end-users to be turned into a range of new products.”
What Happens To Blister Packs Recycled By Terracycle?
“Once received, the blister packs are separated into aluminium and plastics, and cleaned. Metals and aluminium are shredded and smelted into metal sheeting, ingots, or bar stock. Plastics are size-reduced (made smaller by being shredded or ground), then melted and reformatted into pellets, flakes, or a powder format.“
Where Can You Recycle Blister Packs?
There are a few ways to recycle blister packs in Australia and your best option will depend on where you live. The Pharamacycle & Terracycle programs offer blister pack recycling in many pharmacies across Australia. If there is no store close to you that accepts blister packs then you are able to post your waste in to be recycled.
Drop Your Blister Packs To A Store To Be Recycled
♻️ All branches of Blooms Chemist across Australia are now accepting medication blister packs for recycling!
♻️ Empty tablet packaging is now able to be dropped off at National Pharmacies stores in South Australia.
♻️ Terracycle have partnered with Chemist’s Own to collect empty blister packs at 50 selected pharmacies across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
♻️ Amcal Compound Pharmacy in Como, Perth
Collect Your Blister Packs & Send Them To A Recycling Service Via Post
♻️ If you can’t drop by a store locally then @banish.au work with Panelcycle (who own Pharmacycle) as part of their Banish Recycling And Disposal Program (BRAD). You will need to collect your hard-to-recycle items and pay the cost of shipping but they will give you a $15 voucher to use in their online shop.
♻️ Phamacycle recycle at home satchel. For $50 you can get a post-paid satchel to fill with blister packs to send in to be recycled. Holds approximately 150 – 200 blister packs.
Send Them Back To The Company That Made Them
We can demand that pharmaceutical companies take responsibility for the waste they create. Craig Reucassel tackles the problem of blister pack waste in the latest series of War on Waste.
He recommends sending a message to big pharma by sending them back their packaging! Here is a list of pharmaceutical companies with their addresses.
Sign The Petition For Sustainable Blister Pack Options
Show your support for sustainable solutions for medication packaging by signing this petition.
Practice More Sustainable Habits
Are you currently recycling your blister packs? It is getting easier to recycle with many more pharmacies offering drop-off points so keep yours aside to recycle when you visit next.
While it’s great to know how to properly dispose of blister packs, the best thing is to reduce your use of packaging. Aim to buy in bulk or buy products with minimal packaging when you can. Try to reuse items multiple times before disposing of them and if you have a choice between products with plastic and paper packaging, opt for the paper. Don’t forget that recycling is only one way to help protect the environment. You can make other small changes in your daily habits that add up—like conserving water, avoiding single-use plastics, or simply being aware of your consumption.