Ararat - More than 600,000 asthma sufferers across Victoria, including those in Ararat, are set to breathe a little more easily knowing their old puffers will no longer be contributing to landfill and CO2 emissions thanks to the launch of an innovative, Australian-first puffer recycling initiative by GlaxoSmithKline.
The Complete the Cycle Inhaler Recycling and Recovery Scheme will be piloted across Victoria with a view to expanding nationwide and encourages patients to return empty respiratory inhalers to participating pharmacies for recycling, which in Ararat includes Ararat Chemmart. Once collected the inhalers will be taken to a specialist recycling centre.
Recovered plastics will be used in the creation of a range of household items, while non-recyclable components will be used as fuel or other means to help generate energy.
Supported by 49 Chemmart Chemists in Victoria and Asthma Australia, the unique scheme will help reduce the environmental impact of disposed inhalers which would otherwise end up in landfill. When disposed this way, old inhalers also pose a risk in terms of greenhouse gas emissions should the gas canisters be pierced and any propellant released.
Dr Andrew Yeates, medical director of GSK Australia, said the program has already proved successful in the UK and will help pave the way for a more environmentally sustainable treatment of respiratory disease in Australia.
"If every person in Australia were to recycle their inhalers for one year, we would save 52,869 tonnes of CO2 which is the equivalent of driving around the world 26,490 times. By the end of 2015, we hope to have collected more than 1.5 million inhalers meaning major savings in terms of material waste and carbon emissions," Dr Yeates said.