Sunday, August 26, 2007

Day Fifty-Seven - Rx For A Healthier Planet

Convincing a Pharmacy to Let Me Re-use My Prescription Bottles

This is an idea I actually got from one of Envirowoman's posts. For those of you who don't know about Envirowoman, she is trying to make it through an entire year without purchasing anything that is made of plastic or packaged in plastic. Try doing that, friends. I can't imagine what a headache she must get every time she goes grocery shopping, but she is definitely one of my idols.

Anyhow, the problem with most prescriptions is that, for some reason or another, the pharmaceutical industry does not utilize the universally recyclable #1 or #2 plastics for its prescription bottles. Instead, they opt for #3, #5 or #6 plastics. For example, my synthroid 'scrip comes in a #5 bottle - very sturdy and reusable, but not recyclable where I (or most other Americans) live.

So I called my local Walgreens to ask if they could refill my existing prescription bottles and was answered with a flat, unequivocal "no". Not good.

However, it seems like every week when I went grocery shopping, Kroger would spit out a coupon good for $20.00 off my grocery bill if I transferred over a prescription. Sounds like they're hard up for pharmacy customers! So today while I was there, I stopped by to talk to the pharmacist.

She told me that as long as I didn't "phone in" the prescription and I made it clear when I dropped it off that I wanted to reuse the existing bottle, they could absolutely help me out. Hooray! And just like the coffee filter incident, persistence has once again paid off!


I have one monthly scrip, as do my husband and daughter. Also, with two little ones about to head into preschool, we'll be filling our share of antibiotic, earache and pink-eye scrips -- all of which will be put into non-recyclable bottles. I'm betting our annual savings will total somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 bottles. The super-great news is that, because these bottles are so sturdy, we should be able to reuse them for years to come.

Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5

The "doing" part won't be hard, it's the "remembering" part that will most likely trip me up occasionally. Finding someone to let me be green took a little while, but if you're willing to shop around, you'll find someone who either shares your views or knows the value of making a customer happy. :-)

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Hey Erin! This is your cousin Phil's wife Jenn. Just wanted to send you some kudos. I'm super impressed with your Green efforts. I'm still struggling with just plain old recycling. Keep up the good fight.