When I arrived, I stood in line, not only with the empty pill bottle, but also the little paper bag they put it in. That’s biodegradable, so I didn’t have to do that. When I got to the counter, I briefly explained what I was doing and awaited a reply. The lady working the counter wasn’t sure. She turned and asked the pharmacist. He said, “Sure. We can take the label off and refill it.” Yes, success!!!
When I picked it up, they had reused the bottle, but they put it in a new bag. Baby steps. Right now, I just don’t see a way to communicate this, where the guy in the back of the store packaging this, knows why he’s accommodating an odd request.
Medical News Today reports that 4.02 billion prescriptions were written in 2011 in the US. These little amber colored gems cost an average of .07¢ (based on my own research). That’s $286,300,000.00 per year that pharmacies pay (passed on to you), just for the containers. That’s an estimated 804,000,000 pounds of pill bottles potentially ending up in a landfill each year. Ball-parking on the low end (3 ounces) of oil that it takes to make one of these, that equates to 56,513,160 gallons of oil per year… just for pill bottles. And that doesn’t include transportation (mostly) from China to get them here.
There’s an article on eHow with instructions on recycling pill bottles. Instructions? You want me to soak the bottle, then peel the label off? Then you want me to drive it to my recycling center? Yeah, it’s no wonder people pitch them, hopefully into the recycling bin. After reusing one this past week, it’s easy and better for the environment. Years ago, the bottles were glass and we did refill them. When, and how, did it become a good idea to be wasteful and throw stuff in the trash?
My point is to show how a very small and simple act of carrying a tiny bottle into the store can make a difference. It saves natural resources. It will save money. It will help with the labor issues in China. It will minimize items in our landfills. It will help with global warming. It will help create a better future for our kids. All that from one small act. The photos here are from my art show Excessable, showing all of the excess in our society. I guess we need a magic pill… bottle, or we could be the magic behind the pill bottle.
Photo credit: rivercityrubberworks.com