Thoughts on Reusing the Reusable

Thoughts on Reuse

I was looking at pill bottles the other day.  You know, the little round ones the pharmacists put your medications in.

It wasn’t the bottles themselves that first caught my attention, it was the labels that are stuck on with cement and cannot be removed with heat, water or a force of nature.  It occurred to me that when man is done with life on this planet, when all other plastic finally disintegrates, those little brown bottles with a two inch piece of paper stuck to them will still be floating around.

The worst of it is the private information that cannot be destroyed; your name, your medication, your doctor.  You can shred your mail to keep information private but your life sustaining secrets cannot be destroyed.

So that got me thinking about reusing those little brown bottles.  Why can’t they be reused?  Why do  we have to throw them out after one use?  It strikes me that it is a waste to the millionth degree.

Just stop to think about how many bottles we are talking about.  I have one prescription a month, a minor medication but a necessary one.  So for me that is twelve wasted bottles a year and in the last fifteen years there are 180.  That still may not seem like much to you, but I did an informal survey among my friends and acquaintances and the people that I know get three to eight bottles filled a month.  Never mind the exorbitant cost of the medication itself, just think about the container cost.

Now I bet that if all these wee bottles were recycled and reused we could save money on the over all cost.  And if for some reason these particular bottles cannot be reused then surely there are some bright bunnies out there that could design a reusable bottle.

The fact that I can use a permanent marker to obliterate personal information is of no consequence.  Somebody must be able to explain why the waste, why the clutter?

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26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 23:27:25

    My mom used to work in a paper company and nothing peeved her more than companies who purchased the wrong adhesives for their papers! Supposedly, any label can peel easily off of *any* surface if the right glue is used. This just shows that pharmacies worldwide are using the WRONG glue for those little plastic pill bottles. I usually claw away at the label until at least my name is obliterated. I don’t care so much about the doctor’s name or the medication name– as long as I’m not associated with it, that’s fine by me.

    Reply

  2. mouliforever
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 13:08:28

    very true..just imagine the number of bottles that can be reused across the world. Good to see everybody talk about recycling, a concept which was looked at as stupid idea about 30 or 40 years back. I will start to reuse the bottles I use.

    in US 23% of the bottles were recycled in 2006, I am not sure how many of those are being recycled now, should be lot higher.Forget medical pills bottle, think of the water bottles, how much cost can be saved they can be recycled.

    Cheers!!!
    Mouli

    Reply

  3. eof737
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 04:39:57

    Hmmm… We recycle our plastic here including those little med bottles… There is a lot of wastage in the world but on a positive note more people are becoming conscious of the need to curb waste. NPR radio recently had a show in which they spoke of efforts in Nigeria to use plastic bottles to build homes in rural areas; a way to curb the waste. I loved the idea. :-)

    Reply

  4. Katherine Gordy Levine
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 21:46:30

    George Carlin said when all humanity had passed away, plastic bags would live on. Maybe they will marry the pill bottles. Wonder what their offspring will look like. Will they be named for the doctors or the patients on those labels.

    Reply

  5. souldipper
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 19:36:05

    I hope you are going to talk to your Pharmacist. As mentioned, there’s probably some silly rule, but plant the seed! I’m going to ask mine! And I’m going to talk this up!

    You are very clever to have thought of this!

    Reply

  6. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 15:39:17

    I had never thought about that, but you are so true. I have gone through enough of those little bottles over the years that someone could have built the world’s largest plastic cruise ship by now…. To be honest, I had never even thought about my personal info on the bottles, I have just been pitching them in the trash forever… gah!

    Reply

    • Bridgesburning Chris King
      Nov 20, 2011 @ 16:07:34

      I know..it’s scarey and anyone finding the bottle could call in and collect your prescription reorders. Heck I have picked up someone else’s narcotics for them and never been questioned by the pharmacist.

      Reply

  7. Crystal Rayne
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 14:08:20

    Well I read your post to Macgyver over here and he said those little bottles are invaluable to people that process their own film. I guess they use them to hold the chemicals they use to expose their pictures.

    Reply

  8. Judith
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 13:59:47

    I had never thought of that. I thought the bottles could be recycled. I always put my vitamin containers in the recycling bin when they are empty. Oops – maybe I am jamming up the system here.

    Reply

  9. ceciliag
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 13:48:21

    maybe you could ask your your meds to be in a wee paper bag instead of the bottle! c

    Reply

  10. Kathryn McCullough
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 13:38:42

    Amen! I have to take good deal of medication, and the waste of bottles drives me nuts, not to mention the labels that refuse to be separated from them. What kind of glue must they be using? If you come up with a creative use for them, I’d love to hear it. Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday!
    Kathy

    Reply

  11. Crystal Rayne
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 12:41:37

    I agree 100%! With how much stuff is recycled what’s up with the medicine bottles.
    By nature I am a saver (not to be confused with hoarder) I don’t like to waste stuff. These little medicine bottles would make great containers to store fishing hooks in, buttons and whatnot. When I was younger and I was around my grandma that seemed to have an endless supply of these brown bottles. i used to take the empty ones and put little holes in the bottom and use them to put my flower seeds in for start plants.
    You are right though there has to be a way to recycle them for use again. A man on the moon…something can be done with these bottles too.

    Reply

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