Prescriptions for Inhalers
Environmentally Friendly Inhaler Choices
There are 3 types of inhalers that are prescribed for certain lung conditions like asthma and COPD. These are: 1) metered dose inhalers (MDIs)/aerosol inhalers, 2) Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs) or 3) Soft mist inhalers(SMIs- sometimes called breath actuated inhalers).
MDIs contain powerful propellant gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which are powerful greenhouse gases. These can do significant damage to the environment by increasing global warming. They currently make up 70% of inhaler prescriptions in the UK.
DPIs and SMIs do not contain any propellants, which means they are better for the environment. Some MDIs contain the same amount of greenhouse gases as a 115 mile car journey. In contrast, a DPI would have a very small environmental impact, as shown in the graph below.
If you would like to speak to a clinician about your inhaler choices and how you can make more environmentally friendly choices, please book an appointment or speak to one of the team at your next appointment. More information can be found about inhalers in the following links:
Please make sure you bring your old/used metered dose inhalers to your local pharmacy for disposal. This means that they can be disposed of correctly. After use MDIs can still contain residual propellants which are released as greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when disposed of in landfill.
Responsible methods of disposal include incineration which avoids the remaining propellants leaking into the atmosphere. This will have a significant impact on reducing the carbon footprint of these types inhalers.