UNIVERSITY Hospitals Dorset (UHD) is one of the first trusts in the country to launch a new sustainability initative, with on-site pharmacies participating in a nationwide medicine packet recycling scheme.

The initiative, ‘Little Packs, Big Impact’ is a partnership with recycling innovators TerraCycle, and allows patients and visitors to recycle any empty prescription and over-the-counter medicine blister packets by dropping them in dedicated bins during their visit to hospital’s participating pharmacies.

The empty blister packaging is converted into reusable raw materials using a unique recycling process, preventing the packaging from spending a lifetime in landfill.

Jo Sheppard is a clinical trials pharmacy technician at the Royal Bournemouth Hosptial (RBH).

She said: “We can all make one change to benefit the planet and it really doesn’t matter how small it is, eventually it will become a habit.

“We already do so much without even thinking about it, like recycling things at home, having reusable water bottles, switching off lights/monitors etc.

“We can just do our best. And this scheme is a great way to encourage better habits for us all to adopt.”

Bournemouth Echo: Jo Sheppard, a clinical trials pharmacy technician at the Royal Bournemouth Hosptial, and colleague at RBH with the new medicines recycling bin

For each pharmacy shipment of blister packs, TerraCycle will credit the trust’s account with points. The points will then be converted into financial donations to University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity.

Tracy Lyons, medicines optimisation pharmacist and pharmacy sustainability lead for the trust added: “This is a fantastic scheme.

“It’s a simple, easy-to-access programme that the public and staff across UHD sites can get involved in.

“We’ve had a massive, positive response already which shows how keen the UHD team is to live in a greener and more environmentally-friendly way, and we’re looking forward to rolling it out further as soon as we’re able to.”

Public drop off points can now be found in Boots pharmacy at RBH, and Lloyds pharmacy at Poole Hospital.