Boots launches blister pack recycling to stop aluminium reaching landfill

Boots has launched a blister pack recycling pilot scheme in over 100 stores in London and South East of England and plans to roll out the scheme to more stores across the UK in the next year.

The blister pack recycling scheme is an extension of the popular Recycle at Boots initiative, which rewards customers for bringing empty health and beauty products that cannot be recycled at home to collection bins at Boots.

Customers near participating stores can drop off their used blister packs for recycling in dedicated collection bins and get rewarded for it. Loyalty card holders will receive points when they recycle 15 empty blister packs and spend £10 or more in store.

Blister packs, which are made of plastic and foil and used for vitamins and medicines, cannot typically be recycled through household kerbside collections. Boots hopes this new initiative will enable millions of used blister packs to be recycled and diverted from landfill over the next few years.

Natalie Gourlay, Head of ESG at Boots, said: At Boots we want to make it easy for our customers to make sustainable choices for a healthy planet – from the products they buy to how they dispose of the packaging once they have used them. Customers can now simply drop off their empty blister packs at Boots with the assurance that the materials will be given a second life and get rewarded for it too just like they can when they drop off other hard-to-recycle empties through Recycle at Boots. We will be taking the learnings of this initial pilot on board as we look to roll the scheme out more widely within the next year.”

The new blister pack recycling scheme is part of the wider Recycle at Boots initiative, which is delivered using technology partner Metrisk and recycling partner MYGroup. The Recycle at Boots initiative is brand agnostic, meaning that customers can recycle blister packs from any brand and track their recycling, as long as they have a Boots Advantage Card. 

After the blister packs or health and beauty empties have been dropped off at Boots stores, they are sent to MYGroup to be separated using a specialised machine, the metal foil is recycled conventionally, as aluminium is infinitely recyclable, while the plastic is processed into a useable form again, where possible, or made into a material called MYBoardTM to be used for construction, furniture and more.

Steve Carrie, Group Director at MYGroup, said: “We’re proud to announce this landmark scheme with Boots, taking our unique circular solution for blister pack recycling further into the mainstream. Thanks to our longstanding partnership with Boots, we already have the relationships, expertise and reach in place to recover such a widespread waste item at scale as the scheme rolls out.”

Recycle at Boots collection bins are available at over 700 stores across the UK and over 3.1 million products have been recycled since it launched in 2020. Blister pack collection bins are available at over 100 Boots stores initially and will be rolled out more widely in the next 12 months. 

Another way Boots is also helping customers to make more sustainable choices is through its Be More Edit, which makes it easy to find sustainable swaps to their usual health and beauty purchases. The Be More Edit categorises products into plastic-free, recycled, re-usable, vegan and cruelty free. Boots is also taking steps to reduce the amount of plastic in the products it sells. For example, in 2022 it banned plastic-based wet wipes from sale and called on other retailers to follow suit.

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