Get Boots to reinstate paper bags for dispensing prescriptions
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For the past few months I've noticed a change with my prescriptions from Boots in my local store. Gone are the perfectly functional paper bags, and in their place my medication now comes in plastic bags. LDPE (Low density polyethylene) plastic code 4 to be precise. The same plastics used in carrier bags, where a 5p charge was introduced to try and decrease their use.
I tweeted at Boots to try and find out more:
Me: Hey @BootsUK can you say why prescriptions are now being handed out in plastic bags, rather than paper ones which could be recycled? Pretty irresponsible of you to put that much waste into our system, don’t you think?
Boots reply: Hi, Lisa; the processes in the Dispensing Support Pharmacy for packing products will sadly not work with a paper bag. Our bags are not currently made from recycled plastics, but they are themselves recyclable. Thanks -H
Me: They used to come in paper bags, and I can’t recycle them in my region...so...basically you’re telling me it’s cheaper to polute? [sic]
I've yet to have a reply to my latest tweet, but as I said to them, LDPE 4 is not recyclable in my area in curb side collections and the bags are too small to be much use for repurposing so they end up in the trash. Mine, and 100's of other peoples, no doubt. I can't see any logical reason why Boots would move to plastic over paper other than cost, so I'm asking Boots to reconsider their decision to dispense prescriptions in plastic, and revert back to paper which is both widely recycled and decomposes in landfills.
On Boots website, under their Corporate Social Responsibility section dedicated to environment (http://www.boots-uk.com/corporate-social-responsibility/what-we-do/environment/packaging/ they say:
"At Boots UK, we want to help our customers care for the environment while also making a difference in their local communities. From Monday 5 October 2015, with the introduction of the carrier bag levy in England, all Boots stores have sold reusable carrier bags in a selection of different sizes starting from 5p. The net proceeds of the sale of these bags is donated to our charity partner, BBC Children in Need.
Therefore for all types of packaging, whether it’s Boots own brand, exclusive brands or packaging used to deliver products to our stores, we try to ensure it reduces the impact on the environment as much as possible. This applies both during the manufacturing process and at the end of its life.
Whenever we develop new packaging for products, we continually question whether we are producing it in the best way possible. For example:
Can we reduce the amount of packaging used?
Does the packaging help to improve the overall environmental performance of the product?
Can we increase the use of recyclable materials in the packaging?
How effectively can the packaging be recycled at the end of its life?"
But I am a customer who cares about the environment, and yet it seems that when it comes to prescription medication they are less concerned.
I have no idea if other pharmacies have made a similar move (please let me know if they have) but I am calling on Boots to care as much about our planet as they claim to, and to set a precedent as one of, if not the, biggest pharmacy chains in the UK.
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