About the scheme

Complete the Cycle is the first national recycling and recovery scheme for respiratory inhalers. We want to reduce waste and greenhouse gases by moving towards a more environmentally sustainable treatment of respiratory disease.

Why recycling and recovering inhalers is important

New research shows that 58% of people in the UK are putting their used inhalers into their home waste bin, where it can end up at landfill or being incinerated.  Whilst 33% of people surveyed said that they use a kerbside recycling service, councils can’t typically recycle the plastics and gases contained in inhalers. Again, the inhaler may go to landfill or incineration1.

Complete the Cycle is an easy and convenient way to recycle your inhalers. Our scheme helps to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, moving towards a more environmentally sustainable treatment of respiratory disease.

Complete the Cycle gives you an easy way to make a difference to the environment and allows you to breathe new life into your old inhalers.

How to get involved

First, you need to locate your nearest participating pharmacy, hospital or dispensing doctor in the UK.

Then simply hand in your empty, out of date or unused inhaler to a participating pharmacy.

What happens to the inhalers

The inhalers are collected as part of routine deliveries, so no extra miles are travelled, and then taken to be sorted for recycling or recovery. Recovery means using the non-recyclable parts of the inhaler to generate energy.

We can also recycle and recover respiratory inhalers manufactured by companies other than GSK. Read our inhaler list (PDF) to find out which inhalers we take back.

The Complete the Cycle swirl and name is a registered trademark of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies. This service has been fully funded by GlaxoSmithKline.


1) Data on file. 2017 Recycling research