The Waste that Comes with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Let me just start by saying that I am not always the best about being environmentally conscious.  I drive a car built for seven people when generally it is just me in the car, I eat out which creates tons of waste, and I don’t recycle everything that I know is recyclable. (The last one is due to my border collie who attacks the recycling container so I have to be cautious about things that can hurt her.) But, the environment and the waste that I contribute to it is definitely something I keep in mind. We keep our house cool in the winter, I open windows whenever I can, I’m constantly turning off lights in the house, I either bring my own grocery bags or go without, every spring I am growing plants around my house, etc. It is something I think is important and something I am always striving to be better at. So, how does rheumatoid arthritis fit into my goals of being environmentally conscious?

It started several months back when I received notice from my insurance that I could no longer get refills on my prescriptions at our local pharmacy.  To be honest, I was happy about this because I don’t love our neighborhood chain pharmacy.  I was excited that I would no longer have to worry about picking up my prescription either, it would come via UPS. What I didn’t realize is that by receiving prescriptions in the mail, I would be contributing to a whole lot of waste.

First, the prescriptions are over-nighted.which means tons of resources are being used just for me.

Here is the size of my prescription:

The prescription does have to remain cool which explains the reason for so much, but let’s continue to what I have experienced the last few months and will be doing again this week.

A regular brown corrugated box arrived.  It is quite large for the prescription above, right?

Once I opened the two boxes, I found this very nice Styrofoam container.

Next, I found my prescription wrapped in bubble wrap and 2-3 ice packs plus many sheets of paper.

Let me just say that I was horrified when I received the first package and then by the time the second arrived, I felt sick to my stomach. Included is one other small bottle tightly wrapped. For the time being,I will be contributing to this waste every single month. Aahhhh!!!  Does anyone else feel guilty? What do you do with all of these materials? Please share ways you reuse, not just recycle. 

4 thoughts on “The Waste that Comes with Rheumatoid Arthritis

  1. Holy crap! I can understand how you feel — that is seriously a lot of materials. Luckily, most of them can be recycled, but still. Have you thought of calling the Enbrel support program to express your concerns? I bet not a lot of people have thought of this (I didn’t), so it’s definitely feedback that would be valuable. Getting your prescriptions locally is certainly a lot more resource responsible. Alright, ideas for reusing. Boxes are always good — you can use them to send gifts to people you love. Bubblewrap ditto. Also really fun to stomp on or drive over in a wheelchair (I speak from experience) or bike. Is there printing on both sides of the paper? If not, it could make good scrap paper for grocery lists, or for draft print jobs.

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  2. I keep one of the coolers in my car in case I need to keep something cool. I also give them away but I think I've saturated my friends now. I also keep some ice packs on hand in the freezer. I keep a couple of boxes around for the cats. But now I've saturated all of those uses. I did notice that the amount of paper in the box was way less this last time.

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  3. I think in your case though you are conscious about so many other things in your life. I think the world will be ok with you getting the medicine you need to live your life. We can't always be so hard on ourselves when it comes to our lives and what we NEED to survive. That being said, I have turned to some alternatives that have worked for me, one that has made the biggest change is some self treatment. Eugene Sims book How I Achieved Freedom From Arthritis. His methods have helped me create less of a need for other things such as medications and the like. Might be something if it works for others. There are ways to still get what you need without sacrificing the planet. Good luck!

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  4. I feel so, so guilty every month when I order meds. This happens to me x2 because I have to order Rasuvo and Humira. I tend to hoard the ice packs in particular, and use the paper as scratch paper when possible! As far as those boxes……..it just drives me nuts that they are so huge! They are difficult for me to carry on campus/back to my dorm and the waste is ridiculous!

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