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Sustainability Resources

These resources include information about environmentally sustainable health care, medicines use, and management of pharmaceutical waste for individuals, organizations, and health systems. 

Decarbonization of Health Care

Global Road Map for Health Care Decarbonization 

“A navigational tool for achieving zero emissions with climate resilience and health equity”,  published by Health Care Without Harm 

Health Care’s Climate Footprint 

A report by Health Care Without Harm: “How the health sector contributes to the global climate  crisis and opportunities for action” 

Pharmaceuticals in the Environment

“The problem of pharmaceutical pollution and safer pharma” 

Video from Health Care Without Harm Europe, describing roles for the pharmaceutical industry, health care professionals, and patients. Note that the “Safer Pharma” campaign the video refers to ended in 2020 and has been followed by the “Pharma in the environment” website listed below. 


Pharma in the environment 

Website hosted by Health Care Without Harm Europe, presenting information and materials about pharmaceutical pollution, recommendations for stakeholders, and an overview of EU regulatory developments. 


Hyderabad's Pharmaceutical Pollution Crisis 

A report from the Changing Markets Foundation exploring the impacts of pollution from pharmaceutical production sites in the Indian city of Hyderabad, one of the world’s largest “bulk drug” manufacturing hubs, and a major supplier of medicines across the European Union and United States. 


Bettington E, Spinks J, Kelly F, Gallard-Godoy A, Nghiem S, WHeeler AJ. When is a medicine unwanted, how is it disposed, and how might safe disposal be promoted? Insights from the Australian population. Aust Health Rev. 2017;42(6): 709-717.  

Cook SM, vanDuinen BJ, Love NG, Skerlos SJ. Life Cycle Comparison of Environmental Emissions from Three Disposal Options for Unused Pharmaceuticals. Environ Sci Technol. 20212; 46(10): 5535-5541. 

Khan U, Bloom RA, Nicell JA, Laurenson JP. Risks associated with the environmental release of pharmaceuticals on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration "flush list". Sci Total Environ. 2017 Dec 31;609:1023-1040. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.05.269. Epub 2017 Aug 2. PMID: 28787777. 

Law AV, Sakharkar P, Zargarzadeh A, et al. Taking stock of medication wastage: Unused medications in US households. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 2015; 11(4): 571-578. 

McAlister S, Ou Y, Neff E, Hapgood K, Story D, Mealey P, McGain F. The Environmental footprint of morphine: a life cycle assessment from opium poppy farming to the packaged drug. BMJ Open. 2016;6: e013302. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2016-013302  

Wilkinson AJK, Braggins R, Steinbach I, Smith J. Costs of switching to low global warming potential inhalers: an economic and carbon footprint analysis of NHS prescription data in England. BMJ Open. 2019;9(10): e28763 

Bettington E, Spinks J, Kelly F, Wheeler AJ. Returning unwanted medicines to pharmacies: prescribing to reduce waste. Aust Prescr. 2018;41:78-81.  

Daughton CG. Eco-directed sustainable prescribing: feasibility for reducing water contamination by drugs. Science of The Total Environment. 2014; 493(15): 392-404. 

Singleton JA, Lau ETL, Nissen LM. Waiter, there is a drug in my soup - using Leximancer® to explore antecedents to pro-environmental behaviours in the hospital pharmacy workplace. Int J Pharm Pract. 2018;26(4):341-50.  

Programs & Toolkits

RemediChain Platform 

Connects vulnerable pts with unused medications 

Matthew 25 Ministries Pill Bottle Donations 

Collect and re-uses or recycles empty pill bottles  

Return Unwanted Medicines (The RUM Project) 

Australian program administered via community pharmacies 

Return Your Opioids 

Resource kit published by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration 

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