How to recycle asthma inhalers, recycle sign made from cardboard | e-Surgery

Did you know that 73 million asthma inhalers are prescribed in the UK?

And with over 5.4 million people in the UK who have asthma, it’s not surprising [5]. How often have you thrown an empty asthma inhaler in the bin without thinking about where it goes, and how many of us know that we can recycle our used asthma inhalers?

These questions and more will be answered in this blog post on how to recycle your asthma inhalers; Ventolin and salbutamol.

Can I recycle my asthma inhaler?

Yes, you can recycle your asthma inhaler, but not at home. Fortunately, recycling asthma inhalers in the UK is straightforward and can be done in the following ways:

1. Ask your pharmacist if they have a recycling scheme. Many pharmacies have collection schemes for old or unused inhalers.

2. Return your inhaler to the manufacturer. Some manufacturers accept returned inhalers and will recycle them properly.

What is the difference between Ventolin and salbutamol inhalers?

Salbutamol is a short-acting beta 2 -adrenergic receptor agonist, meaning that it works by stimulating these receptors. It can treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The drug works by relaxing muscles in the airways and increasing airflow to the lungs. This makes it easier to breathe [1]. Ventolin is a brand name for the drug Salbutamol.

The main difference between the blue reliever inhalers is that Salbutamol is a generic drug, whereas Ventolin is a brand name.

ventolin and salbutamol infographic

Are these inhalers recycled in the same way?

Yes, both Salbutamol and Ventolin inhalers are recycled in the same way. Both are effective for asthma treatment, with the only difference being that the latter represents a branded version.

Are inhalers bad for the environment?

However, what many people don’t know is that inhalers can be bad for the environment. This is because they contain a propellant that helps to deliver the medication to your lungs. The propellant used in inhalers is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), which damages the ozone layer and contributes to climate change.

As a result, CFCs were phased out and replaced by hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) as the propellant in inhalers [2]. While HFA doesn’t damage the ozone layer, it does contribute to climate change [3].

It is important to recycle asthma inhalers because they contain aluminium, which is a valuable resource. The thermal treatment process of asthma inhalers helps save this natural resource and reduces pressure on how much aluminium is taken from mines.

Recycling also reduces how much waste goes to landfill sites and how much waste can be reused to make new products or fuel for energy recovery purposes instead, which reduces greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere [3].

how to recycle asthma inhalers

How can I reduce the environmental impact of my asthma inhaler?

Inhalers are an important part of asthma treatment. They deliver medication directly to your lungs, making them more effective than oral medications. When used correctly, they can help you breathe better and reduce your symptoms.

However, there is also a lot of waste from unused or expired inhalers, all of which can harm the environment if not disposed of correctly.

There are a few things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your asthma inhalers:

Keep your inhaler clean. This will help it last longer and means you won’t need to use as much medication. It is important to clean your inhaler before returning it or disposing of it. This will help to ensure that harmful chemicals are not released into the environment. Follow these steps to clean your inhaler:

  • Remove the mouthpiece cover.
  • Separate the metal.
  • Rinse the plastic part with warm water for 30 seconds.
  • Dry your inhaler before using it again.

Use the inhaler correctly. Don’t waste any of the medication by not using it in the right way.

Have a regular asthma review with your doctor to check that you are taking the correct strength of the medication. This may mean that you can reduce your reliance on inhalers and therefore produce less waste.

Have a spare inhaler, so you don’t need to get a new one every time yours runs out.

how to recycle inhalers inforgraphic
how to recycle inhalers inforgraphic

Can I order my Ventolin and Salbutamol asthma inhaler online?

Yes, Ventolin inhalers for asthma treatment can be ordered online from reputed online pharmacies, such as the e-surgery website.

Ventolin Inhaler e-Surgery

You will need to have a prescription from your doctor to do this. You can also purchase Salbutamol inhalers for asthma treatment from e-surgery’s online pharmacy.

Salbutamol Inhaler from e-Surgery

When you receive your inhaler, it is important to make sure that you use it within the recommended time frame and contact your GP in case of cross medications.

You should also ensure that you are taking the correct dose of medication for your needs and that you attend regular asthma reviews so that your doctor can monitor your condition.


  1. Salbutamol | C13H21NO3 (NCBI)
  2. Switching from CFC to HFA Inhalers: What NPs and Their Patients Need to Know (NCBI)
  3. Costs of switching to low global warming potential inhalers. An economic and carbon footprint analysis of NHS prescription data in England (BMJ)
  4. Breathe new life inhalers (Complete the Cycle)
  5. Asthma facts and statistics (
  6. Inhaler recycling (NHS)

Further Reading

  1. INHALERS (Recyclenow)
  2. Can I Recycle My Asthma Inhaler? (Waste not, want not living)
  3. What to do with inhalers? (Zero waste Scotland)