Help Us Reduce Our Carbon Footprint by Recycling Inhalers

We are all aware of the pressing need to reduce our carbon footprint, and our healthcare services and Mendip Vale practices are no exception. Inhalers, essential for managing respiratory conditions, currently contribute significantly to primary care's carbon footprint. Together, we can take simple yet impactful steps to reduce this environmental impact.

1. Good Asthma control is the most important thing.

Having well controlled asthma is the best thing you can do for yourself and the planet. If your asthma is well controlled, you will be symptom free or have very few symptoms. You will only rarely need to use your reliever inhaler (usually blue). Your asthma may not be well controlled if: You are using your reliever inhaler three or more times a week. You are using three or more reliever inhalers a year. You are experiencing asthma attacks. If this is the case for you, please speak to your GP practice. Also, make sure you check that you are using your inhalers correctly.

Watch this video on good inhaler technique: How to use your inhaler | Asthma + Lung UK (


2. Choosing an inhaler which is good for you and good for the planet - Consider Switching to a Dry Powder Inhaler

Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) and soft mist inhalers (SMIs) do not contain propellant gas, so they have a much lower carbon footprint. Find out more on the green inhaler website.

You need to breathe in quickly and deeply when using a DPI to get the medicine into your lungs. Most people with asthma can manage this. However, children <12yrs, some older people and people with severe asthma may not manage this.

If you use an MDI, a spacer device is recommended to improve the delivery of medicine to your airways. With DPIs, there is no need for a spacer.

Most DPIs have a dose counter which shows you how many doses remain. This means you can track your treatment. You can discuss if a dry powder inhaler is suitable for you at your next asthma review. All inhaler device changes are reviewed, so if you don't get on with your new inhaler you can try another one or change back.

The equivalent car CO2e tailpipe emissions of each type of inhaler:

When choosing an inhaler your health is ALWAYS the priority, so having an inhaler that works well for you is the most important thing!

3. Return Your Old Inhalers to the Pharmacy

The propellants used in some inhalers, such as metered dose inhalers (MDIs) also sometimes known as aerosol spray inhalers or ‘puffers’, are powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Even after an inhaler is finished it still contains these environmentally damaging gases. (Please be assured these gases are not harmful to you when you use your inhaler)

Don’t throw used inhalers into your household waste or recycling bins! Landfill disposal of inhalers is harmful to the environment due to left over gases being released into the atmosphere. Plastics from inhalers cannot be recycled using domestic recycling schemes

Return all used inhalers to your local pharmacy for safe disposal – Returned inhalers will be incinerated which will destroy the greenhouse gases and prevent inhaler plastics going to landfill.

4. How can I tell my inhaler is empty?

You may think that you can tell by shaking it or seeing if a spray comes out, but this doesn’t work. Even an empty inhaler will still ‘puff’ when you spray it or sound like it has something in when you shake it. Lots of people use empty inhalers without realising it. This can mean they are not getting their medicine when they need it and not getting the help they need to look after their asthma.

For more information: How-can-I-tell-if-my-inhaler-is-empty-1.pdf (

For more information on inhaler use and the environment: