If you are an asthma patient or deal with breathing difficulties, finding an inhaler in your house is common.
But what do you do once you are done with it? Do you throw it in the trash? How do you dispose of an inhaler?
Read further as we answer all your questions and concerns regarding the disposal of inhalers.
What Should You Do with Old Inhalers?
If there are old inhalers lying around in your house, it is high time you consider disposing of them. When it comes to getting rid of inhalers, certain rules need to be followed.
Keep reading this blog as we take you through a detailed guide on ‘How to dispose of inhalers’
When Is The Right Time To Dispose Of Inhalers?
The average lifespan of an inhaler is one year. Therefore, if you have an inhaler lying around for longer than a year, it needs to be disposed of immediately.
If you are unsure about when to dispose of an inhaler, refer to the list below. As per the following list, you should dispose of your inhaler:
- when it expires after a year.
- when it gets broken or damaged.
- when it starts leaking.
- if it drowns in water.
- when there is no more medication left.
- if it gets contaminated by any means.
Can You Dispose of Used Inhalers in Trash?
No, you cannot dispose of used inhalers in the trash. In fact, it is the last thing you should be considering.
There are three primary reasons why throwing inhalers in the trash is strictly prohibited. Here is what they are:
Reason # 1: The Inhaler Is Not Completely Empty
When you think of discarding your used inhalers in the trash, think again.
You may feel that your inhaler has been completely used, but in reality, there is still some medication left inside it.
Throwing away inhalers in this state is not recommended as it could be a health hazard or lead to accidents.
Reason # 2: The Inhaler May Explode
Yes, there is a possibility that an old inhaler may end up exploding when disposed of in the trash.
This can result from medicine leakage or the inhaler coming in contact with anything flammable.
Therefore, to avoid the risk of explosion, you should strictly avoid throwing your old and used inhalers in the trash.
Reason # 3: It is Bad For The Environment
Besides being a health hazard, disposing of old inhalers in the trash can also be harmful to the environment.
According to a study conducted by GlaxoSmithKline, it was revealed that almost 29% of disposed of inhalers still have medication leftover inside.
When these inhalers go from your trashcan to landfills, it increases the risk of leakage and damage. This would end up polluting the water streams.
In addition to this, if an inhaler gets damaged in a landfill, it may end up releasing toxic greenhouse gasses or react with other pollutants in the air.
Why Is It Essential to Ensure Safe Disposal of Inhalers?
As we have already shed light upon the health and environmental risks of disposing of inhalers in the trash, it is essential to look for alternative and safer disposal options.
As most inhalers are hazardous in nature, you cannot simply dispose of them off like any other waste material.
Moreover, as inhalers come under the pharmaceutical hazardous waste category, only a few safe disposal options are available for you.
Keep reading this guide to find out how to dispose of used or expired inhalers in the safest way possible.
Is It Possible to Recycle Inhalers at Home?
No, unfortunately, inhalers cannot be recycled or repurposed at home.
When it is the right time to dispose of your inhaler, you should look for safe disposal options instead of trying to recycle it or throwing it in the trash.
This is not just for homes. Recycling of inhalers is not even encouraged on a commercial level.
Currently, only a few pharmaceutical companies are allowed to carry out medical waste recycling programs.
The only way to get rid of your old inhalers is to dispose of them through safe and legal means.
How to Dispose of Used or Expired Inhalers?
When it comes to disposing of inhalers safely and legally, you can consider the following options:
Method # 1: Dispose of Inhalers via Medical Take-Back Programs
As inhalers fall under the category of medical, hazardous waste, the best way to dispose of it is through medical take-back programs.
Various leading pharmaceutical chains carry out these programs across leading cities to ensure the safe disposal of medical waste items like inhalers.
You can get in touch with your state’s garbage service providers or search the web for the nearest medical take-back programs in your area.
Method # 2: Dispose of Inhalers by Dropping them at Your Local Pharmacy
Similar to the first option, you can always dispose of your old and expired inhalers at your local pharmacy.
All leading pharmacies have medical waste disposal stations where you can dispose of your old inhalers and fulfill your duty as a responsible citizen.
Method # 3: Contact Your Fire Department for Inhalers Disposal
Besides your local pharmacies, various ‘Fire Departments’ across the country offer waste disposal services, including medical waste.
All you have to do is contact the nearest Fire Department office and ask them if they are accepting medical waste disposal of items like inhalers. They will further guide you about their safety rules and packaging instructions.
It is ideal if you schedule a drop-off time with them to avoid any chances of mishap as disposing of inhalers is a critical task, and you cannot be careless about it.
Method # 4: Contact Your Nearest Police Station for Inhalers Disposal
Just like fire departments, you can also get in touch with your nearest police station for disposing of used or expired inhalers.
In several US States, police stations and fire departments provide medical waste disposal stations to ensure safe disposal practices across the country.
You can contact your nearest police station and find out whether they are accepting used or expired inhalers or not.
It is better to schedule a drop-off date and time with them for the safe side to avoid any inconvenience.
Furthermore, make sure you follow all the safety guidelines outlined by them to make sure they accept your inhalers for disposal.
The Bottom Line – What Should Be Your Final Call?
We hope you enjoyed reading this comprehensive guide on ‘How to dispose of inhalers?’ and its answered all your concerns.
The next time you have to dispose of a used or expired inhaler, refer to the information shared in this guide and strictly follow the safety guidelines to ensure a safe disposal method.
Improper disposal of inhalers could lead to several health and environmental hazards, and in this case, it is better to be safe than sorry. Best of Luck!
If you have any more tips and information regarding the safe disposal of used or expired inhalers, feel free to share them in the comments section below.
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