In one of my last posts I talked about ways that pharmacies can reduce their environmental footprint and why they should do so. While researching ideas for the piece, I came across St. Louis Hills Pharmacy, which has actually implemented compostable prescription vials in their store. In addition, they have an entire page of their website dedicated to the numerous actions they are taking to protect the environment. I thought it was pretty cool (and not something I had seen many independent pharmacies do), so I emailed the pharmacy.
I was fortunate enough to have the owner, Tyler Taylor, PharmD, respond and let me interview him about his experience with compostable vials!
1. Why did you decide to switch to compostable prescription vials?
My wife and I have been trying to reduce our environmental impact by recycling, composting, and reducing plastic waste. I saw that there were some biodegradable vials available so I decided to look into it. Pharmacy waste is high so I wanted to try and limit what waste we produce. The ones I use may or may not be truly compostable. I couldn’t get a good answer from the composting company that I use. They do break down in a prokinetic environment much faster than your typical plastic vial. I wanted to switch to reusable glass vials but the requirements by the Board of Pharmacy exceed realistic expectations.
[PC] That's interesting about needing to validate it with the composting company. It brings up another good point you bring up on your website about the differences between 'compostable' and 'biodegradable': biodegradable materials may still take much more time to break down than compostable products. This article gives an excellent overview of the differences between the two.