Active collection points for consumer drop-offs
The number of blister packs recycling since July 2022
Percentage of material collected that is diverted from landfill
Pharmacycle is Australia’s first and only end to end recycling program for household and commercial medicinal blister pack waste.
It is the quick and easy way to recycle empty medicinal blister packs. Best of all, it’s completely FREE to drop off at a participating pharmacy. You can find your nearest drop off location here.
Pharmacycle is a voluntary recycling program, funded by participating pharmacies, industry sponsors and government organisations.
Pharmacycle is a complete end-to-end solution for the recycling of medicinal blister packs. Pharmacycle manages all of the collection, logistics and processing of blister packs, providing full transparency and traceability.
Using specialised recycling technology, located right here in Australia, Pharmacycle ensures that blister packs collected for recycling are actually recycled.
Collected blister packs are transported to our processing facility located in Sydney.
Each box or bag received at our processing facility is checked in and weighed allowing us to track and report on performance across our network of public drop off locations and participating organisations.
Once weights have been recorded, the contents of full boxes/bags are emptied onto a sorting table for a visual quality control check.
Any contamination, such as residual medication still in packaging, paperboard packaging, or non-accepted packaging is removed and managed accordingly (recycled where possible). Any residual medication that is identified is removed and placed in a sealed container, which when full is sent to an appropriately licenced facility for disposal.
The empty blister packs are then put through a series of mechanical recycling processes to separate the aluminium foil/seal from the plastic blister. The steps include shredding, grinding, air-density separation, and finally electrostatic separation.
Once separated the aluminium and plastic material is kept in bulk bags until enough material is ready to be sent to end-users.
When it comes to items that Australians wished they could recycle, blister packs top the list. However, as blister packs are made of different materials, including plastic and aluminium, they cannot be recycled through kerbside recycling.
This means that every year, hundreds of millions of blister packs are either sent to landfill or incorrectly placed into kerbside recycling, contaminating other materials streams.
For blister packs to be recycled, they first need to be collected in sufficient volumes to warrant the use of specialised recycling technology. Pharmacycle provides the mechanism to achieve this, making the wish to recycle blister packs a reality.