June 5, 2018
World Environment Day
June the 5th is World Environment Day, a day where the United Nation’s encourages awareness and action for the protection of our environment.
Here at RUM, we are very conscious of protecting the environment, with the environmental consequences of throwing away medicines in the wrong place being one of the main motivators behind the project.
The theme of this year’s day is “Beat Plastic Pollution”, a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. This theme is a reminder to consider how you use plastic in your everyday life, and how you can make small changes to reduce pollution in the environment and help our health. For tips on helping the environment, see our blog on 5 Ways You Can Help the Environment.
Every year, up to 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into our oceans, damaging reefs and hurting sea life. Medicine can also do the same thing if disposed down our sink or in the household garbage, because it has the potential to leech into waterways. The same goes for the plastic blister packs the medicine comes in. Disposing medicine in the household garbage or down the sink can mean that it ends up in our drinking water, as sewerage systems are not equipped to remove medicines and their metabolites (biproducts) effectively.
As well as try and eliminate your plastic use, it’s also a good time to think about your medicines and how you store and dispose of them. When was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet?
The correct way to dispose of medicines properly is to follow the three simple steps of:
READ: Go to the areas in your home where you store medicines. Read the labels, check expiry dates and review all medicines. Consider whether you actually need them.
REMOVE: Remove all expired and unwanted medicines from your home medicine area and place them in a bag or container. If the medicine comes in a cardboard box, that can be recycled separately.
RETURN: Return your expired and unwanted medicines to your local pharmacy. Your pharmacist will put them in a secure bin for safe disposal. Prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbal or complementary supplements, gels, liquids, creams and veterinary medicines can all be disposed of in a designated The RUM Project bin.
The Return of Unwanted Medicines Project is a free service that offers a way to dispose of unwanted or expired medicines safely and conveniently at your local community pharmacy. Find out more about the service here.