Now, in management of recurring everyday waste, this is something totally unavoidable.

Are tablet strips (what they call blister pack strips), after use, recyclable? Can they be dumped with dry waste along with other plastic such as polythene covers?

I have been collecting them for over a month now, with the hope that there must be a responsible way to dispose of them.

enter image description here

up vote 8 down vote accepted

​​Yes, blister packs are recyclable (for example with machines like this one) but chances are there's no recycling company in your area that will accept and recycle it unless you are able to separate the different materials yourself.

Blister packs like the one you posted typically consist of plastic (usually PET or PVC) and aluminium. The problem with composite waste materials is that they are more difficult and costly to recycle compared to homogeneous materials, because you need to separate the different materials. Additionally plastic-aluminium composites only form a relatively small-volume waste stream, which makes it difficult to make the recycling process economical.

Recycling companies that recycle blister packs do exist, for example this US and UK-based recycler but I think that's one of the few and it seems you actually have to pay them to get it recycled (you have to buy a waste collection box and send it back once it's full).

In general it's always best to ask your local recycling company whether they recycle a particular product, and what the appropriate way of disposal is. That's because different recycling companies make different choices as to which types of waste they process and how exactly they collect and process it. If your local recycling company doesn't recycle it you could try and find another company a bit further away, but if you do find a suitable recycler keep in mind that moving trash around may cause more environmental damage than you gain from recycling.

BTW when inquiring about the recyclability of a particular material, always check the recycler's definition of 'recyclable'. Many recyclers will say they do 'thermal recycling' which means it will be incinerated.

  • Thank you. Assuming that they are not recyclable in the locality, would it be meaningless to segregate them at home, better to let them join the landfill or wherever ? What benefits does segregation have for non-recyclable items or for items whose recycling is a far-fetched option locally ? – Whirl Mind Aug 10 '17 at 21:10
  • 1
    If there is no option for reuse or recycle, then there is indeed no point in segregating it. The only exception I can think of is if you expect it to be reusable or recyclable in your area in the near future and you're willing to store it yourself until that time comes. – THelper Aug 11 '17 at 6:40

There are blister packs which appear to be made entirely from aluminium and I put these in the recycle bin in their entirety. I have also been recycling the blister packs made from plastic and aluminium. I do this by occasionally separating the aluminium from the plastic in a sort of game of 'patients' by trying to separate as much of the aluminium from the plastic as possible. With some blister packs, eg asprin, it is possible to achieve 100% and most others around 60 to 90%. However, with some, especially where the blisters are very small, I give up after a few seconds if I am struggling however I have occasionally achieved 100%. Needless to say the aluminium gets recycled and the remaining pack has been discarded. I can while away an hour or so on this when I have things I need to think over quietly or I have little else to do. Far better than this would be a National/International campaign to have all blister packs made entirely out of aluminium; it is done by some and can surely be done for all medicines.

Only thermo plastics have a recycle value, thermoset plastics do not. Even the thermo plastics are limited as recyclate - grade 1 recyclate, by grade 2 the polymers strands will no longer bond and the resultant product will develop weaknesses and start to split. As stated in the first answer, 'Yes... ...need to separate the different materials' it is this which poses one of the biggest problems in recycling plastics, it's best done at source (at home if you like) as the cost of doing it on mass is high. Hope this helps and enlightens.

In my household unfortunately we must take a number of tablets daily on permanent repeat prescriptions, mainly from plastic/aluminium bubble packs. But some are supplied in totally aluminium packs, which are readily re-cyclable. So there is an alternative - which is for drug manufacturers to be forced by law to use only single-material packaging. If some can, why not the rest?

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.