Posts tagged "medicine"

How can I reuse or recycle the plastic spoons that come with children’s medicines/cough syrup?

Tabitha has asked:

How can I recycle the plastic spoons you get in children’s medicine bottles? Thanks ;oD

A great question! I can’t take tablets so have to take liquid medicine instead – and as a result, I end up with lots of these little suckers. There is no way to reject them really – they’re tucked inside the box and I suspect if you did ask the pharmacist to remove it, they would just go in their bin instead.

While they’ve got a full teaspoon size head, they only have a tiny (2cm/inch) long handle (or a smaller spoon in lieu of a handle, like the one in the picture) so can’t really be used as general plastic spoons for picnics or what-have-you. They would be useful as a measuring spoon in the kitchen – since they typically have 2.5ml and 5ml (half a teaspoon/full teaspoon) level markings on them to ensure correct dosage – but that’ll only going to use one or two of them maximum.

I’m going to contact the companies behind the medicines I use most often to see if they have any recycling advice but most generic plastic cutlery is made from Polystyrene (plastic number 6), which is not usually recycled, so chances are we won’t be able to fling these little spoons into our plastic recycling bin any time soon.

Any suggestions for reuses?

How can I reuse or recycle single use medication vial flip caps?

Over on the Suggest an Item page, Valerey explained:

I work in the medical profession and I open and use medications all the time. I was wondering is there any way to reuse the flip seals on the top of the single use vials. I have a quite a few and need some suggestions….thanks.

I’m not a medical person so I’m not familiar with the caps – but after a bit of time with Google Image search, I think I know what Valerey means – the flat top bit in that picture (if it’s not that, please do let me know). It’s a disc with a protruding centre, which seals into the top of the bottle. Some seem to have “flip off” stamped into them too, which seems a little redundant as it’s inside the bottle but gives them a bit of fun attitude…! :)

People who know what they are: do you know if the caps come into contact with the medication at all, or is there another seal in between? If it does come into contact with the medication, that will probably limit the potential reuses – they look like they could be used as coins in a toy till/cash register but you probably wouldn’t want kids getting their hands on them if they had the slightest traces of medicines on them.

And for those already familiar with them, any suggestions?

UPDATED TO ADD: lots of people have been asking for pictures of flip off cap creations for inspiration. Here are some that I can find – if anyone knows of any more examples, let me know and I’ll add them to my list:

How can I reuse or recycle old vitamin tablets?

We’ve had an email from Andi:

Can I Compost vitamin tablets? I have two jars in date but have gone moist from the air. What can I do with the bottles?

We’ve covered pill bottles already on the site but the vitamin question is a good one – and I’m not sure of the answer. I suspect it might be “best not”. We’re instructed to always dispose of expired medicines very carefully to avoid risk to the public/wild animals, and to avoid contamination of the environment/water supply. While dietary supplements are generally a lot more benign, there is still some risk, for example, iron can be surprisingly toxic to children, and presumably small animals. I’m not suggesting that many children will hunt around in your compost bin for a feast of pills but the payoff doesn’t really seem worth the risk. I may be wrong though.

I’m also not sure if there will be many reuses for them…

Any suggestions for stopping them going soggy in the first place?

How can I reuse or recycle birth control boxes?

Birth control containerWe had an email from Tamara last month that got buried in my inbox but I found it again so here it is:

I wanted suggestions on how to recycle pill boxes… like the kind you get with birth control.

I thought I could use one as a wallet, but you see, twelve a year for an indefinite number of years, and a wallet just isn’t going to be a good enough idea for very long. Any suggestions?

I’ve never taken the pill myself (because I can’t take any pills without choking – very annoying but all in my head) but unless US television has lied to me over the years, in the US at least, they come in clam-shell shaped containers which help you keep track of the days. And all americans live in giant mansions or on ranches. And everyone’s problems are solved at neatly after 30 minutes.

So any suggestions for the clam-shells? I’d be tempted to use them to hold beads but suspect every time I opened the clasp they’d go flying across the room – and while that would be funny the first three or four times…

(In the UK, I believe the pilles usually come in blister packs with the days written around the edge. On a related note, we’ve also featured plastic pill and vitamin bottles in the past too.)

How can I reuse or recycle … asthma inhalers?

InhalerWe’ve had another email from Am (who comments as Delusion), this time saying:

My partner is asthmatic and so goes through inhalers. It seems a waste to throw them out, I don’t think there is much to be done with reusing them though I may be wrong.

Does anyone know of anywhere these could be returned for reuse? Even if it is only the plastic outer casing?

My first thought would be to ask the chemist to not include the plastic part with each refill – but if they get the complete inhaler from the pharmaceutical company already packaged up, they probably would end up just throwing them out from the shop. Does anyone know what the situation is with this?

And what about suggestions for reuse? Or recycling the individual bits?

(Photo by Jenny Rollo)