We usually throw away the empty medicine bottles in the trash after consuming them completely. Or, certain people even find ways to reuse and repurpose these bottles most beautifully and conveniently.
But have you ever thought about the other ways of disposing of these plastic bottles? Or, how do you recycle these pill bottles? With the changing healthcare and waste management system, there are a couple of ways to do this.
You can recycle the empty pill/medicine bottle by using the clean bottle for multiple household purposes, donating them to hospitals, or passing them over to programs like Gimme 5 or curbside recycling.
There are numerous ways of recycling and disposing of plastic bottles. This article will tell you if the plastic medicine bottles are recyclable and, if yes, how to recycle them.
Are Medicine Bottles Recyclable?
Recycling is a very well-known phenomenon today. Medicine/pill bottles are recyclable, and every product undergoes the recycling process before being excluded. And similarly, medicine/pill bottles aren’t an exception as well.
So, can you recycle pill bottles?
Most probably, medicine bottles are made of easily recyclable plastic. But there are cases in which the plastic material is not recyclable.
Various factors come into play when it comes to medicine bottles, such as the type of plastic used, the size of the bottle, and the composition.
So, the answer can be yes or even no. Hold on! Don’t get confused. Let us explain this very clearly.
Medicine bottles are composed of a huge range of plastic materials. Few plastics are recyclable, while others are non-recyclable whatsoever. The recyclable plastic medicine bottles are usually known by code ranging from #1 to #7. For example: Polypropylene #5 plastic.
However, many companies have trouble recycling medicine bottles and mostly reject such plastic bottles.
What are The Ways of Recycling Medicine Bottles?
There are numerous ways of recycling or reusing these plastic medicine bottles. And here are a few ways that you can use to reuse or repurpose empty medicine bottles.
1. Use the empty bottle for your household purposes.
We know that you have been thinking of using and reusing empty medicine bottles for a while now.
Well, worry no more, because you will know some great alternatives to using your old or empty medicine bottles properly in this post.
So, let’s jump right into it and take a look at some most common uses of empty bottles for household purposes.
The most usual way to use your old medicine bottles is to store items such as toys that are usually lying around. The size of the material to be mainly stored depends on the size of the medicine bottle.
Few things that you can store in a medicine bottle are usually:
- Action figures
- Barbie stuff
- Bubble solutions
- And so on
The storage is not limited to just toys, and you can also store other tiny items such as push pins and paper clips.
Check this video to get some creative ideas:
For example, if you’re working on a task that requires the use of tough plastic or bottles made up of glass, then medicine bottles are the most valuable objects.
In such cases, you can utilize the medicine bottles as an LED bulb by passing circuits and bottles through them.
However, this is recommended to be used on certain occasions such as Christmas or Easter. Do take precautions and measures while conducting such experiments.
Use to create a sewing kit
You can also use the old medicine bottles to store your sewing items. Such as needles, pins, safety pins, buttons, and thread, and you would be good to go.
Mini Survival kit
You can also use the medicine bottle as a survival or necessities kit. You can store necessary matchsticks, coins, and boating/camping items. These small things stored in a small bottle can be carried anywhere, and you can survive any situation. Kudos to you!
Check out this great video from Living Survival:
Suppose you love to wear perfumes but hate to carry large perfume bottles. Then, you can take an old medicine bottle, clean it properly and store some perfume in it.
Also, carry a few cotton buds. Soak the bud in the perfume and use it at your convenience. You can also use the bud to close the bottle.
This will prevent the perfume from evaporating, and you can reach out for the bottle and use it any day.
You can also use the clean bottle for repurposing in various ways:
- Use it as a container to store makeup, jewelry, buttons, and other knick-knacks.
- Travel-sized products such as mini size shampoo & lotions
- Cotton Buds
- Safety pins & bobby pins
- Coin & earbud holder
2. Visit any nearby hospital hosting collection events and donate the empty bottles there.
You can donate or give away the empty pill bottles in a hospital nearby or donate these bottles to an NGO or charitable organization. These organizations make sure to use them most uniquely and helpfully.
3. Pill bottle shredding
Pill bottle shredding is the safe and effective disposable way of medicine bottles. This is a process of disposing of the bottles by using an industrial shredder machine.
Why pill bottle shredding?
- This method guarantees that the sensitive information mentioned on the bottle is scrapped off or protected. And this ensures consistent safety and compliance with the law.
- It also prevents the bottle from being found in a dump and used for unethical or unsafe uses.
Hence, every time you run out of a medicine bottle, contact a shredding service right away and take help recycling the bottles.
Chances are, if you end up calling a recycling company, then they might reject the bottle due to size, material, or composition. In comparison, a pill bottle shredding service will shred and collect the bottle without any hesitance.
And hence, there is a higher chance of the medicine bottle being recycled in the right way.
4. Give it to pharmacists to dispose
You can also dispose of the medicine bottles by contacting or reaching out to your nearby pharmacies. But, before reaching out, do check properly and ensure if they are accepting the old bottles.
5. Check the product label and dispose of it as per instructions
Finally, if you want to dispose of the medicine bottle in the simplest way, read the bottle’s instructions. Most of the time, companies mention the disposal method in the back of the bottle.
But, if there are no instructions mentioned, it’s recommended that you check with the local pharmacist or recycling facility for the disposal method.
Programs that Specifically are for Recycling Medicine Bottles
There are programs or events available specifically conducted for donation and recycling purposes. Here are a few programs to help you recycle and dispose of plastic medicine bottles.
1. Curbside recycling
To avoid the poor disposal of the medicine bottles, reach out to the curbside recycling program and ask if they accept prescription medicine bottles.
As per Recycle Nation, the curbside recycling program in Oklahoma City, Sandy, and Utah are the three examples of places that accept #5 plastic bottles.
2. Recycling Center
A far better option than curbside recycling is reaching out to the recycling center to donate the #5 plastic. All the centers located in Iowa City, San Carlos, California, accept #5 plastic recycling.
If you are still not sure about the recycling centers that are near you, you can always use a location search tool to find plastic recyclers in your location.
3. Gimme 5
Plastics can also be recycled by using a service named Gimme 5. This is a program run by Preserve. Preserve produces products for consumers by using recycled plastic. They have commercial partners. The biggest of all was Whole Foods Market. In the Gimme 5 initiative, the grocer was the most significant contributor. It has bins for collecting plastics in most of its stores.
They don’t charge any extra cost apart from the shipping cost to recycle the plastics. And if you don’t see any such option near you, the best option is to approach the nearest pharmacy or the pill bottle donation programs.
4. Pharmacy pill bottle recycling
There are no huge national recycling programs offered by commercial pharmacies, namely CVS or Walgreen. The small local pharmacies have come up with recycling programs that have resulted in huge success.
The Beaver Health Mart Pharmacy in Pennsylvania has opened a recycling program for its customers to dispose of their empty medicine bottles for over a decade now. The process includes- throwing the bottle in the bin, partnering & sending it to the vendor, and recycling the plastic.
Customers usually hand over the empty bottles to the pharmacists. These pharmacists then scrape out the sensitive information and send it to the local recycling facility.
Note: It’s essential to remove sensitive information before disposal.
You can also visit this website to start your recycling journey.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is another easy and verified place to donate the old medicine bottles and recycle them.
5. Pill Bottle Donation Programs
A few donation programs repurpose and reuse medicine bottles in countries or cities where prescriptions are delivered in a paper bag and hence can’t be protected from damage.
Matthew 25: Ministries is the one that accepts empty medicine bottles donation and passes over for the shredding and recycling process of the bottles. Their pill bottle donation program helps improve medical care in countries as well as assists in protecting the environment.
MedWaste Nation provides convenient biohazardous medical waste disposal services.
What Are The Alternatives To Plastic Medicine Bottles?
Polypropylene bottles are the most used containers for storing and selling prescription medication. But, many environmentalists are still working towards innovating alternatives to this material.
The best alternative to these bottles is paper pill bottles, and these bottles are 100 percent compostable and biodegradable. Plant-based prescription bottles are also starting to emerge as a great alternative to plastic or polypropylene.
You may end up ignoring the importance of the proper disposal method of a medicine bottle as you may feel that it’s not at all dangerous for the environment.
Yes, there are many more global problems and threats to the planet to be focused on. But, every year, around 4 million Americans buy or consume prescription medicines in plastic pill bottles.
If you continue to dispose of plastic medicine bottles unconsciously, don’t you think this will become a new threat to the globe?
But, we together can stop this from happening soon by contributing to the environment’s good.
Start being conscious of how you dispose of the small items, especially the medicine bottles. We have already made it a lot easier for you in this particular blog. So, now do them and help keep the earth safe.