Everyday enviro with Elise: how to recycle blister packs

By Elise Catterall 23 March 2021

Have you ever seen those social media stories showing amazing zero-wasters who can fit two years of rubbish into a single jam jar? Sadly, that’s not me. But what you often see in the jar, other than the occasional tea bag tag, are medicine blister packs.

If you are one of the thousands of Australians who takes medicines or supplements that come in blister packs, TerraCycle has some fantastic news — you can now recycle them

Blister packs for medicines are a common product of hospitals, pharmacies and health food stores as they provide unit-dose packaging, tamper protection and improved shelf life for medicines and supplements. Blister packs include the push through type you are probably used to seeing for painkillers etc., but also the more substantial Webster-paks which aren’t push through.

This packaging is mixed material so it can’t go in your kerbside recycling, and it isn’t suitable for REDCycle, so up until recently it was destined for landfill. Happily, TerraCycle has come to the rescue, just as they have before for so many other landfill-bound items like toothpaste tubes and contact lens containers.

Depending on the amount you have to recycle (for example, whether you are an individual, a large household or even a business), you might want to order one of their Zero Waste Boxes to fill at home. The idea is that you buy a Zero Waste Box that best fits your needs — TerraCycle recommend the Kitchen Separation Box for blister packs — and once you have filled it up, you seal it and drop it off to a post office to be sent back to TerraCycle. Boxes comes with prepaid return labels.

TerraCycle's Zero Waste Boxes vary in price but start at $180. This could take you over a year to fill if you are a small household, so the daily cost is quite small, but you could also consider teaming up with family, friends or neighbours to create your own recycling hub and share the cost. TerraCycle have a whole range of different boxes for the bathroom, office, toys, media, etc., so the recycling sky is the limit!

If you don’t have enough items to warrant your own Zero Waste Box, you can always use one of the secondary collection points like those offered by my fave eco-retailer Flora & Fauna. The Sydney-based store has invested in its own Zero Waste Boxes and is inviting the public to send in their recyclables (this goes for those toothpaste tubes and the contact lens containers as well) that they will return to TerraCycle for you. Flora & Fauna is not only doing this for no charge, but even rewarding you with a $10 voucher for the store. Legends!

terracycle flora and fauna blister pack

If you don’t know Flora & Fauna yet, you should get to know them. They are an amazing hub of natural, eco-friendly and low and zero waste beauty, hair and baby products, as well as ethical fashion and eco homewares.

What will go in those jam jars now? Isn’t that a nice problem to have!

Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 

Elise Catterall
Elise is a writer, photographer, and naturopath with a passion for nature. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Her photographic work focuses on flowers and plants as a way of celebrating nature. She has been writing for Planet Ark since 2017, sharing positive environment stories, personal environmental experiences and perspectives.