Incorrect disposal of medicines has a negative impact on the environment and, consequently, on health. Dumping this type of waste in common trash or sewage contributes to contamination of the soil and water reservoirs, compromising the quality of life.
From the raw material to the consumer, the medicine goes through a long chain, which does not end with the use of the product. After consuming the medicine, there is an important cycle for the preservation of our natural resources and the future of the next generations, which is where reverse logistics comes in.
It is responsible for actions involving systems for collecting, transporting, storing, recycling and treating waste produced by post-consumer disposal, and this applies to medicines.
Check out the step-by-step instructions for correctly disposing of medications:
• Separate expired or disused medications. It is important to keep them in their primary packaging, that is, in the original blisters, tubes and bottles. These wastes are considered Group B (chemical waste) and must be disposed of differently from common waste as they present risks to public health and the environment.
• Empty primary packaging of medicines, such as blisters, tubes and bottles, which no longer contain the product, are classified in Group B as they present direct contact with the material, even if they have not been contaminated by leakage or ruptures. They must be disposed of properly at specific collection points.
• Medicines and residual primary packaging need to be taken to specific collection points, found in some pharmacies, drugstores, supermarkets and Basic Health Units (UBS). In these places, it is possible to make the appropriate collection for expired medicines and bottles.
• Sharp materials, such as syringes and needles, must be separated from other items and taken to the UBS.
• Secondary packaging, such as boxes and leaflets, that were not contaminated by the medicine, are classified as Group D waste (common household waste) and can be separated for recycling normally in homes.
• Pharmacies, drugstores and supermarkets are responsible for the temporary storage of medication waste and their packaging until collection and transportation by distributors.
• Discarded medicines have different destinations. The needles and syringes are taken to treatment plants for decontamination. After this procedure, they are taken to landfills. Most of the expired medicines and their packaging, such as blisters, tubes and bottles, are incinerated in plants prepared for this purpose.