GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) has introduced a new program to help consumers recycle their empty GSK respiratory inhalers and keep waste out of landfills. The "Complete the Cycle™ Recycle Program for GSK Respiratory Inhalers is the first of its kind in the pharmaceutical industry and is being offered to community-based retail pharmacies in 31 U.S. markets to make available to their customers. Currently, inhalers may not be recycled by curb-side recyclers, and therefore likely go to landfills.
The markets where the program is being offered are Anchorage, AK; Ann Arbor, MI; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; Denver, CO; Eugene, OR; Grand Rapids, MI; Huntsville, AL; Jacksonville, FL; Kansas City, MO; Lexington, KY; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY; Oakland CA; St. Paul, MN; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Richmond, VA; Salt Lake City UT; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; St Louis, MO; Syracuse, NY.
Pharmacy enrollment in the program is ongoing and consumers can view a regularly updated list of participating pharmacies on www.GSKCompleteTheCycle.com.
"The Complete the Cycle™ recycling program provides an in-store location for people to drop off empty GSK respiratory inhalers for shipment to a specialized recycler," said Jorge Bartolome, Senior Vice President of GSK's respiratory business area. "GSK piloted the program earlier in five markets and collected nearly 2,700 inhalers. By expanding to 31 U.S. markets, we hope to recycle more than 100,000 empty GSK inhalers."
Participating pharmacies will have a Complete the Cycle™ collection container where customers can deposit empty inhalers as they pick up new prescriptions. Once the boxes are full, pharmacies send the inhalers directly to a specialized recycler where the inhalers will be recycled. The plastics will be used to make new household products, such as plastic hangers and plastic flower pots. The recovered aerosol canister will be sent to a specialist company that will capture remaining gas and recycle the metal components. The inhalers will not be recycled to produce new inhalers.
The Complete the Cycle™ program is being administered for GSK by TerraCycle, the world's leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste. TerraCycle is managing the recruitment of pharmacies and the roll-out of program materials to the participating stores.
GSK Environmental Sustainability
The Complete the Cycle™ recycling program is designed to reduce the environmental impact of GSK inhalers sent to landfills. It is one of several efforts GSK has in place that focus on environmental sustainability. GSK's broader sustainability initiatives can be found in the company's 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report.
The GSK program aligns with other efforts offered by many pharmacies to collect and recycle items, such as empty drink containers, plastic bags or pill bottles, and was designed in response to the growing U.S. interest in environmental sustainability. Studies have shown that recycling and sustainability are increasingly important to American consumers. As an example, a 2011 study from SC Johnson and GfK Roper showed increasing interest in recycling, with 58 percent of American respondents reporting that they recycle on a regular basis.
GSK is committed to providing medicines that make a difference while protecting natural resources. The company aims to minimize environmental impact across the value chain and lifecycle of its products by setting ambitious goals to reduce its carbon footprint, water footprint and waste. Among the long-term goals, GSK aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, with this ambition extending across the company's operations, suppliers and customers.