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March 2021

First of its kind postal inhaler recycling scheme

A pharmaceutical company that specialises in respiratory drugs has launched a pilot scheme in Leicestershire to easily dispose of and recycle inhalers through the post.

The Leicestershire Take AIR (Take Action for Inhaler Recycling) scheme has been developed by Chiesi and is supported by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, and Leicestershire and Rutland Local Pharmaceutical Committee. It will run for 12 months, after which it will be measured for effectiveness and how it can best be rolled out in other areas. The scheme can be used for any inhaler – any brand and any type.

Take AIR is the first and only scheme to allow people to dispose of and recycle their empty, unwanted, or out-of-date inhalers through the post, supporting a more sustainable way of living for people with respiratory illnesses. Those wishing to use the scheme can simply ask their local pharmacist (in the Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland area only) for a Take AIR pre-paid postage envelope, insert up to four inhalers into the envelope and post the pre-paid sealed envelope into a Royal Mail post box. All inhalers can also still be returned to any community pharmacy for safe disposal.

On average around 73 million inhalers are used in the UK every year. Some inhalers contain plastics that are not often recycled in council recycling schemes. Additionally, local councils are not able to dispose of, or recycle the gas contained in pMDI inhalers. Disposing of inhalers correctly prevents the release of greenhouse gases from the canister into the atmosphere.

Find out more about the Take AIR scheme at

Practice Nurse 2021;51(2):6