Frequently asked questions
Which inhalers are collected through Complete the Cycle?
Complete the Cycle enables responsible recycling and recovery of many oral respiratory inhalers – not just those manufactured by GSK.
Read our inhaler list (PDF) to find out which inhalers we take back.
Are the inhalers recycled to make new inhalers?
Recycled aluminum is used in our inhaler devices however due to patient safety reasons, we cannot re-use all of the materials we collect through Complete the Cycle to make new inhalers.
Materials recycled through the scheme are used by companies to make other products for example car manufacturing and air conditioning units.
Does recycling inhalers have a significant impact?
Over 1.2 million inhalers have been recycled and recovered. This has saved carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 5,199 cars off UK roads1.
You really can make a difference to our environment by returning your used inhalers to a participating pharmacy, hospital or dispensing doctor.
Why can't GSK and other inhaler manufacturers just make them more environmentally friendly in the first place?
We have reduced the emissions from our Ventolin inhalers by 80 per cent by switching from CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) to HFA (hydrofluoroalkane) propellant gases2. Our MDI (metered-dose inhaler) canisters are also now made of recycled aluminium.
My usual pharmacy is not listed as participating in this scheme. Can I recycle my inhalers at another dispensary?
Yes. You can take your respiratory inhalers to any participating pharmacy, it does not have to be your usual pharmacy.
My inhaler is still partially full – can I take it in to be recycled or recovered?
You should take your inhalers as prescribed until they are empty. You can also take your inhalers to a pharmacy for safe disposal if they are out-of-date, whether they are full, partially full or empty.
I have always returned my old inhaler to the pharmacy, what was happening to it?
Pharmacies have always taken back unwanted medicines however due to clinical guidelines, all medicines (including inhaler devices) have to be incinerated.
Now, Complete the Cycle provides an opportunity for many inhalers to be recycled and recovered.
Does GSK use recycled material in its own inhalers?
Yes, we use recycled aluminium in our inhaler devices.
There isn't a participating pharmacy close to me. Can I post my inhaler somewhere?
Unfortunately, we cannot accept any postal returns – Complete the Cycle is only available through participating pharmacies, hospitals and dispensing doctors.
1) Data on file. 2018 CO2 emissions calculations (UK/RET/0010/18)
2) Data on file. CO2 emissions and footprint of Ventolin (UK/RET/0023/18)
UK/RET/0151/17 - March 2018