War on Waste

Pharmacycle to feature on Series 3 of War On Waste

If you're among the few who haven't seen it, the "War on Waste" documentary presents a confronting and eye-opening exploration of the staggering amount of waste generated by Australian businesses and consumers each year. This thought-provoking series takes a deep dive into the pressing environmental issues we face, and one of its focal points is tackling the problem of blister pack waste.

In February, we had the privilege of hosting Craig and the "War on Waste" production team at the Pharmacycle processing facility. It was a remarkable experience to have them witness firsthand the intricate process involved in recycling Australia's empty blister packs. We take immense pride in our work and view this visit as an excellent opportunity to showcase our commitment to sustainable practices and waste reduction.

While "War on Waste" may be perceived by some as provocative, it undeniably excels at bringing crucial issues to the forefront that many would rather overlook. By fearlessly addressing these concerns, the documentary sparks essential conversations and motivates individuals and businesses to take meaningful action toward a cleaner, greener future.

The issue of blister pack waste is one that often goes unnoticed, despite its significant impact on the environment. Through our collaboration with the" War on Waste" initiative, we aim to raise awareness about this problem and inspire others to join us in implementing sustainable solutions.

At Pharmacycle we firmly believe in the importance of responsible waste management and environmental stewardship. Recycling empty blister packs is just one of the many steps we take to contribute positively to our community and the planet.

We are genuinely honored to have been featured in the "War on Waste" documentary, and we recognize the responsibility that comes with this visibility. Our commitment to the cause remains unwavering, and we are excited to continue collaborating with like-minded individuals and organisations to make a lasting impact on waste reduction and environmental preservation.

As a valued member of our community, we invite you to join us in our efforts to create a more sustainable future. By working together, we can collectively address the challenges posed by waste generation and foster a greater sense of environmental consciousness within our society.

Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to engaging with you further as we strive to make a positive difference in the world.

-> Link to War On Waste ABC iView


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Please connect with our team.
Where can I recycle blister packs?

Use our Find a Location function to search for your nearest drop-off location. Simply enter your location and hit search.

I don’t have a Pharmacycle collection point near me, what do I do?

We are continually expanding our network of collection points, however if there is no participating pharmacy near you and you would like to recycle your blister packs, you can do so by purchasing a at home recycling satchel. To find out more about the home recycling satchel click here.

You could also ask your local pharmacy to join Pharmacycle or share their details with us via hello@pharmacycle.com.au and we will reach out on your behalf.

What can I recycle through Pharmacycle?

All brands of empty medicinal blister packs can be recycled through Pharmacycle. You can also recycle medication packs and dosage administration aids such as Webster-pak and SureMed, but please make sure that all medication is removed before returning.

We do not accept:

Blister packs and medication packs that still contain medication such as capsules to tablets.

Outer cardboard packaging – this can be recycled in your kerbside recycling bin!

Why can’t I recycle blister packs in my kerbside recycling bin?

Blister packs are a complex type of packaging material made up of various plastics, foils (aluminium), and paper foils. This means they can’t be recycled in your kerbside recycling bin. For blister packs to be recycled, the different materials they are made of need to be separated from each other. Pharmacycle has the technology to do this, located right here in Australia.

How many blister packs can I drop off?

Pharmacycle have a goal to recycle every blister packs in Australia and have the capacity to do so, but as we rely on the support of participating pharmacies, we ask that users respect the preferences of individual pharmacies, including any limits on the quantity of blister packs that can be returned in a single visit.

As a guide, we recommend that you drop off blister packs in small quantities (15-20) at a time. Doing so will allow more people to participate in Pharmacycle and ensure a positive experience for all.

I have a large amount of blister packs that I want to recycle, can I take these to a participating pharmacy or drop off location?

Not all participating pharmacies and drop off locations will accept large quantities of blister packs for recycling. Therefore, if you have a large quantity (more than >2 litres or approximately 100 blister packs), it is best to call ahead to the drop-off location you are planning to visit to check if they will accept your material.

If you are collecting on behalf of a commercial business or businesses, as a community group, charity or not for profit, then we request that you reach out to helpdesk on 1800 344 003 or via email hello@pharmacycle.com.au to discuss recycling options.

As an individual consumer, will it cost me to recycle my recycle blister packs?

It is FREE to drop off blister packs at your local Pharmacycle collection point. You can find your nearest collection point here.

If you would like to recycle your empty blister packs from the comfort of your at home, then you can purchase your very own recycling satchel here.

Can I send blister packs to Pharmacycle for recycling using my own box or parcel?

No - As there are mutliple costs involved with what we do, including postage, administration, and processing, we cannot recieve material sent directly to us. Material that is sent to us will be returned to sender.

Separate to being able to drop-off blister packs for free at a participating Pharmacycle drop-off location, you can purchase a satchel for your own individual use. To find out more about the home recycling satchel click here.

As a healthcare facility, what can I recycle through Pharmacycle

Pharmacycle accepts all medicinal blister packs except for those that have come into contact with a cytotoxic substance or which contained a Schedule 8 drug.

As a general rule, we do not accept:

Blister packs still containing medication/pharmaceuticals.

Outer cardboard packaging – however this can be recycled through your commingled recycling service if you have one!

As a healthcare facility, are there any costs involved in participating in Pharmacycle?

Yes - to cover the costs of the program, including administration, logistics, processing and reporting, we charge a service fee based on the service model and products you choose.

What is Pharmacycle?

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.

How is Pharmacycle funded?

Pharmacycle is a voluntary recycling program, funded by participating pharmacies, industry sponsors and government organisations.

Why is Pharmacycle unique?

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.

What happens to the blister packs after collection?

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.

Why do we need Pharmacycle?

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.

Can I trial Pharmacycle to get a better of understanding of how it works for my pharmacy and customers?

Yes - you can trial Pharmacycle by purchasing a single box. Doing so will provide you with the opportunity to better understanding generation rates and customer participation.

What is the Pharmacycle Blister Pack Schools Recycling Program?

The Pharmacycle Blister Pack School Recycling Program is an initiative designed to help schools and students recycle empty medicinal blister packs. By partnering with National Pharmacies, we provide a simple, fun, and educational way to promote sustainability and environmental stewardship.

How do I become a collection point?

Simply fill out and submit the enquiry form above and we will get in touch to discuss product options and guide you through the registration process.

How can schools participate in the program?

Schools can register for the program using the form above. Once registered, schools will receive a starter kit with everything needed to begin, including a collection box, stamp cards, a poster, and an information sheet.

As a pharmacy, are there any costs involved in becoming a drop off location?

Yes - to cover the costs of the program, including administration, logistics, processing and reporting, we charge an all inclusive per box fee, which becomes cheaper with the more boxes you purchase.

When does the program run?

The program runs from 1st July to 31st August 2024, coinciding with Plastic Free July and extending through August to maximise participation and impact.

What are the benefits of becoming a collection point?

Becoming a collection point gives you the opportunity to drive increased foot traffic at your store and grow your brand recognition for sustainability. By partnering with Pharmacycle you are also supporting us on our mission to make blister pack recycling easy for all Australians.

How do students collect stamps?

Students collect empty blister packs and return them to any National Pharmacies store, where they will receive a stamp on their collection card. After collecting ten stamps, students return their completed cards to the collection box at school.

Do I need to be listed as a public drop-off location to participate?

No - being listed on the Find a Location function of the Pharmacycle website is optional.

What happens at the end of the promotional period?

At the end of the promotional period, students submit all their remaining cards, whether fully or partially completed. Schools send the stamp collection box back to Pharmacycle using a prepaid return postage label, which will be provided.

As a pharmacy, what can I recycle through Pharmacycle?

You and your customers can recycle all medicinal blister packs except for those that have come into contact with a cytotoxic substance or which contained a Schedule 8 drug. You can also recycle medication packs and dosage administration aids such as Webster-pak and SureMed, but please make sure that all medication is removed first.

As a general rule, we do not accept:

Blister packs and medication packs still containing medication/pharmaceuticals.

Outer cardboard packaging – however this can be recycled through your commingled recycling service if you have one.

What are the prizes for participating?

Prizes include $500 for the school with the most stamps, $200 for second place, and $100 for third place. Five students from each participating school will be randomly selected to win a $10 National Pharmacies voucher.

What types of blister packs does Pharmacycle accept?

Medicinal blister packs and medication packs/dosage administration aids that consist of a plastic blister and aluminium foil or a mixed paper aluminium foil; either as a composite or separate (single material) can be returned for recycling.

Why can’t blister packs be recycled through kerbside recycling?

Blister packs are made from a combination of materials like plastic and aluminium, which cannot be separated through regular kerbside recycling processes. Specialised recycling technology is required, which is why collecting sufficient volumes through our program is essential.

Can I recycle medication packs and dosage administration aids?

Yes - medication packs and dosage administration aids such as Webster-pak and SureMed are accepted for recycling, but please make sure that all medication is removed before depositing into a Pharmacycle collection box. Any residual medication can be dropped into a Return Unwanted Medicines container available at most pharmacies right across Australia.

Is there a cost for schools to participate?

No, participating in the Pharmacycle Blister Pack Recycling Program is completely free for schools and students.

What are the dimensions of the pharmacy collection receptacle?

The standard pharmacy receptacle is 28cm (w) x 28cm (d) x 76cm (h), providing for approximately 60 litres of volume to collect blister packs.

How many blister packs can the pharmacy receptacle hold?

We estimate that our standard 60L receptacle can hold between 2000-3000 blister packs (standard 10 or 12 tablet paracetamol blister pack).

How long will it take for the receptacle to be filled?

We estimate that on average it will take around 3-4 weeks for a box to be filled, however this is dependent on several factors including program awareness and participation. The more the program is promoted and marketed the quicker the box will fill.

How do I organise a collection?

When you require a collection you can book online here, call our helpdesk on 1800 344 003 or email bookings@pharmacycle.com.au.

Will I receive a report on recycling outcomes?

Yes - every collection point receives a regular performance report highlighting how much material has been collected and recycled.

Australia's only complete blister pack recycling solution
1800 344 003

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