Medicine worth 180 million thrown away yearly

What do you do with your unused medicine? Reusable medicine worth €180 million are thrown away on a yearly basis.

Recent research held by 4th-year students in the minor Modern Business in a Changing World shows that only one third of the population return residual medicine in a proper way. The others throw their medicine away with the household waste or flush them via the toilet and sink. However, this seriously threatens the environment and water management system.


The students also analysed the value of returned medicine at the pharmacies, which was valued at approximately €120 million per year. However, this only covers 1/3 of the total quantity of unused medicines. The total value of unused medicine per year adds up to €360 million of which half, or €180 million, is still reusable.


Part of the minor is setting up pilots to change the behaviour of people. The coming weeks students will test several ways to increase the awareness with people that medicine needs to, and can, be returned. Additionally, the students are talking with a large Dutch supermarket to put medicine return boxes at their stores. By increasing the possibilities to return your excessive medicine, we hope that the returned amounts will increase over time.


For more information, including a video about the research, check: (in Dutch only)


Commissioned by Logistics Community Brabant, the research dives into the willingness of people to return their excess medication for re-use. This has been done for the third year, and is conducted by students for their minor, internship as well as alumni from the domain Logistics at Breda University of Applied Sciences.