Understanding the feasibility and environmental effectiveness of a pilot postal inhaler recovery and recycling scheme.

21 Jan 2023


All inhalers have an environmental impact; the majority are not recycled, with many disposed of inappropriately through domestic waste. To assess the feasibility of a method for recovering and recycling inhalers, Chiesi Limited (Chiesi) set up and funded 'Take AIR (Action for Inhaler Recycling)', a 12-month pilot postal scheme facilitated by community pharmacies across Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland, and hospitals in Leicestershire. All inhalers were accepted in the scheme. The recovered pressurised metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs) were dismantled and component parts recycled where possible; the remaining propellant gas was extracted for reuse in refrigeration and air conditioning industries. Other inhaler types were incinerated in an 'energy-from-waste' facility. From February 2021 to February 2022, 20,049 inhalers were returned; most (77%) were pMDIs. So far, Take AIR has saved the equivalent of an estimated 119.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere. Our experience demonstrates the feasibility and effectiveness of a postal inhaler recovery and recycling scheme, which could be used as a foundation to build future initiatives.

Read more here.

Resource information

Respiratory topics
  • Climate Change
Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Murphy A, Howlett D, Gowson A, Lewis H