Recycling goals made achievable by Territory Pharmacy program

by Helena Morgan
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In partnership with global sustainability solutions provider TerraCycle, the Northern Territory’s leading pharmacy group, Territory Pharmacy, is launching an inaugural and free territory-wide blister packs recycling program.

Scheduled to initially trial in 12 participating Territory Pharmacies and two regional health clinics before moving to other locations, the program invites Northern Territorians to donate empty blister and medication packs at drop-off locations. Pending a successful trial period, 60 remote health clinics in the Territory will eventually participate in the program.

Addressing a dirty waste disposal reality

This much-needed initiative was developed in response to the downfalls of only 60 percent of the Territory population having access to kerbside collection services. Additionally, the absence of municipal waste collection in regional and remote communities inhibits the fulfilment of responsible waste disposal goals.

Before the launch of this hotly anticipated program, blister packs would be regularly sent to landfill, as they could not be recycled via council kerbside recycling. 

TerraCycle Australia general manager Jean Baillard said plastics, foils and paper foils in blister packs were rendered unsuitable for standard kerbside bin recycling. 

“Each year, blister packs contribute to a substantial volume of plastic waste in landfills, which takes hundreds of years to break down,” says Baillard. 

A turning point in inclusive and accessible recycling 

Territory Pharmacy CEO and pharmacist Steven Kong is pleased to see underserved and neglected communities finally getting the chance to partake in sustainable recycling solutions.

“This program is a significant step in providing free recycling opportunities for hard-to-recycle waste in remote regions – by establishing collection points at pharmacies and regional clinics across the Territory, this program will transform recycling accessibility,” says Kong. 

Finding new life via a recycling chain of custody 

The donated blister packs will firstly undergo a shredding process, before being sorted from the aluminium through an air density separation process known as elutriation. 

“Separating the plastic from the aluminium also requires an additional process of micronisation which converts the material into powder,” explains Baillard “Once converted into powder, the remaining aluminium is removed through electrostatic separation.” 

The waste that TerraCycle recycles into raw material is sold to manufacturing companies that subsequently satisfy the recycling journey. 

Manufacturing companies give recycled waste new life in products such as outdoor furniture and decking, plastic shipping pallets, watering cans, storage containers, flooring tiles and playground surface covers. 

Photography supplied by TerraCycle.

Last year, Chemist Warehouse rolled out blister pack recycling bins in Victoria.

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