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Pharmacies: Start recycling and reusing pill bottles

This petition had 5,674 supporters

I’ve been consistently struck by something when I visit a pharmacy. Every time a prescription is filled, a new pill bottle is provided even if there’s only four pills in it. Once the pill bottles are empty, they are often tossed in the trash, while others attempt to recycle them. That is, if their curbside pick-up recycles Polypropylene plastic #5.

Every year, 4 billion prescriptions are written, which means 4 billion different forms of plastic pill bottles are manufactured and either sent to the landfill or possibly recycled. The amount of plastic waste is completely unnecessary. That’s why I’m asking CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid to either provide a recycling bin for old pill bottles or sanitize and reuse them to ensure they aren’t sent to the landfill.

This is easy to do. Pharmacies can provide bins at each one of their stores, collect pill bottles and recycle them or they can partner with an organization in need of pill bottles (Malawi Project, Gimme 5, local veterinary clinics, etc.). Ideally, the plastic bottles would be reused after sterilization via autoclave, which is safe for Polypropylene containers. In addition to the creation of trash, creating new pill bottles is an unnecessary expense as well as an irresponsible use of many resources.

According to the pharmacies statements below, they are all looking for ways to be stewards of the environment. If this is truly the case, then they should all step up and implement this program to align with their business goals.


As a pharmacy innovation company with thousands of retail pharmacies, an expanding footprint as a result of recent acquisitions and a growing supply chain, CVS Health is committed to assessing and reducing our direct and indirect environmental impacts. Our enterprise programs are designed to ensure that environmental sustainability is embedded in our approach to business operations and product development.


With more than 7,700 stores across the country, Walgreens is always looking for ways to be stewards of the environment.

Rite Aid

At Rite Aid, we believe adopting green business principles is a conscientious decision for our business, our community, and the environment.

Please sign this petition if you would like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid to protect the environment and stop wasting resources.


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