Overconsumption and unnecessary plastic are two issues plaguing almost every industry — from children’s toys to food. One sector — pharmacies — recently had their plastic-filled habits plastered on social media for all to share.
A photo shared on the Reddit r/Anticonsumption forum showed a photo of one user’s order from a local pharmacy. All three bottles were placed inside other plastic containers like a set of Russian dolls. By the context provided in the caption, the user could have just received their 90-day prescription in a single bottle.
“Is this really necessary?” the user asked in the title.
Folks in the comments section were quick to explain what may have been going on. “There are certain medicines that are required to be sold in their original, unopened bottles but when those bottles don’t fit a label then they have to be placed in a bigger bottle,” one user noted.
Some users were alarmed by the pervasiveness of plastic waste. “Just wait until you see the dumpster behind your local pharmacy … It’s madness, regardless of the ‘explanation’ for why it has to be done,” one user wrote, going on to explain that their local pharmacy throws out three to five garbage bags of empty bottles every week.
Several commenters also shared tips for what to do with leftover pill containers besides recycling them (if the municipality has that option). These include storing fresh herbs, putting money in at the beach, or keeping water out of important things.
Some organizations will also take back pill bottles, washed and dried with the labels removed, and recycle them for you. Matthew 25: Ministries ships the bottles off to other countries that may not otherwise have access to medical supplies. The organization then takes that revenue and brings it back into its programs, similar to how the Cash for Clunkers program works for some non-profits.
It’s a win-win for the organization as well as people looking to get rid of their pesky pill bottles.
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