Sustainable Pharmacy Goals: ALBUTEROL CANISTERS!!!
June 21, 2021
“Explore how pressure from and collaboration with wider healthcare stakeholders, such as the public, providers and policy makers, can help to further move the dial and deliver change for the broader ecosystem” this was part of the agenda for a webinar I missed. I had received it from a Healthcare Without Harm email. I missed the conference, but it was enough to prompt me to do something I’ve been meaning to do.
I’m a litter-picker but I also work on asthma quality metrics. I had no idea that asthma inhalers are hazardous waste! The plastic is #5 and can be recycled, but the canisters if they still have acutations inside could actually explode in the landfill. I even included one slide in my quality udpates to our leadership team.
Then I emailed the students at Sustainable Pharmacy Project to get their ideas. Then I posted it on Facebook with Physicians for Sustainable Future.
“Wanted to jump start a project so we can show higher ups that this is important for the earth, patients, but also for our bottom financial line. Since I am already in management, this is what they want to hear. I already have been working on asthma quality metrics for over a decade. Just realized that albuterol inhalers and other inhalers are considered hazardous waste, and we don’t give any information on recycling nor disposal. Nationally looks like just Walgreens has spotty take-back programs? I am planning on pairing this with asthma quality metrics since a big thing is not overprescribing albuterol and teaching correct spacer technique to hit the asthma ratio (controllers/controllers+albuterols). Has anyone done this already? I don’t want to recreate the wheel. Already reached out to the Sustainble Pharmacy Project students to see what they know. Also I figure we start in our local area, and then as we organize within our big organization we can try to put some financial pressure on our suppliers to change their recycling practices.”
And that is it! That is what I did for the earth today. Trying to save us some trash, improve asthma care and save some heatlhcare dollars for our HMO and for the entire world!!!