Many people are surprised to learn what a big contribution inhalers make to their carbon footprint. The most commonly used inhalers in the UK are called Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs). These typically have a metal canister which you push down into a plastic case to release a puff of medicine into your lungs while you breathe in.
Your inhaler can have a big impact on your carbon footprint. The most commonly used inhaler in the UK, Ventolin Evohaler™ has a carbon footprint of 28kg per inhaler. That’s the same carbon footprint as the tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions of driving 175miles (or from London to Sheffield) in a small car. One reason it’s really important to take regular effective preventer or maintenance inhalers is to reduce the amount of Ventolin that you need.
Ventolin is the manufacturer’s brand name for a drug called Salbutamol. Lots of other inhalers contain Salbutamol and work just as effectively. More modern inhalers such as Salamol use Salbutamol in just the same way but have half the carbon footprint of Ventolin.
These inhalers are broadly similar in cost to the NHS, work just as well as the older inhalers but are friendly on the environment. What’s not to like!
At Living Well you can quickly and easily switch from Ventolin to Salamol by contacting our Medicines Team via eConsult. We will also be emailing and texting our patients to offer the switch.
What else can I do to help the environment?
- Make sure you use up all the doses in your inhaler. Don’t discard it early unless it is out of date.
- Return used inhalers to your pharmacy. They will dispose of them in an environmentally safe way.
- Switch to a dry powder inhaler, just as effective with virtually no carbon footprint.