Recycling Medication in Germany

Talking to some expats, we came across the all-time favorite recycling program in Germany. Among cars and many other things, we also recycle our medication. Since this was taken in surprise, it might be worth sharing.

Old and expired medication is called Sondermüll (toxic waste) and needs to be handled accordingly.

Keeping the environment and future generations in mind, it is important to keep old and expired medication out of the regular trash. Please remove the package and papers to be disposed in the Altpapier (recycled paper pin), but drop off your unwanted medication at your local pharmacy.

From there, expired medication will be picked up or delivered to the toxic waste department. Not-yet expired medication will get recycled and donated to charities.

Injection needles can also be dropped off at the pharmacy.

What is so toxic about this kind of waste? This waste requires special attention – if not handled properly, it can cause damage to the environment and our health. In most households, the amount of medication ending up in the regular trash is benign, but collectively, the damage is big.

These toxic elements can enter the food chain, whereby harming our vegetation and animal life. So please separate and deposit waste in its proper place.

Some packets carry symbols, such as the one with a dead tree or a dead fish (unfortunately, most of us have lost awareness of these signs)

Whenever you see a black symbol on an orange background, be alerted to its toxic content.

Most other medical products come with der grüne Punkt symbol, another reminder to recycle.

So, just in time for spring cleaning – clear out your medical cabinet and drop off your recyclable items at your local pharmacy. Your German phrase for the drop-off: Ich möchte das zurückgeben.

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