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Unused medicine turned into energy

The French have been handing in their leftover pharmaceutical drugs in recycling initiative

It is a problem: doctors prescribe medicine, but it is only available in a certain amount - such as a packet of 12 pills when all that was need was 10, for example. This means waste is inevitable. 

Thanks to a new initiative however, the issue is being tackled in France with people returning their leftover medicine and prescriptions to pharmacies.

In total, 11,884 tonnes of medicine was handed in to pharmacies last year. Collected by the wholesale distributors, the medicine is then incinerated and converted into energy, with enough power generated to heat the equivalent of 7,000 homes last year.

The organisation behind the scheme is called Cyclamed.

A study by the institute BVA revealed 79% of French people report returning their unused medicine to the pharmacist. Ninety-three per cent cite their reasons as environmental, as the scheme provides an alternative to the medicine from being thrown away and then contaminating the environment. Safety reasons followed closely behind, with 90% of people wanting to avoid the risk of medicine being taken accidentally in the home.

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