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Pill Vial Recycling Program

Start Your Vet Clinic’s Journey to Reduce Plastic Use!

Embarking on the journey of plastic reduction is simply made by launching a pill vial recycling program at your veterinary practice.

Below you will find comprehensive instructions and materials to seamlessly launch and sustain your pill vial recycling initiative!

Skip to the bottom for a quick summary and video.

Materials / Methods

  • A container with separations for ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ sides
  • Chlorhexidine solution or an appropriate disinfectant
  • Area for air-drying pill vials
  • Glass amber jars for prescriptions awaiting refill in an already dispensed vial (for pets with medication refills)
  • Method to notify staff of participating clients (use alerts in most Veterinary software or colored stickers for paper-record practices)

NOTE: The Love Our Oceans Project advises against accepting recycled pill vials used for chemotherapy medications or any medications requiring additional PPE during dispensing. Thank you for your understanding and commitment to our collective safety and well-being.


  1. Enroll interested clients in the pill vial recycling program. Consider having a QR code in exam rooms for self-sign-up, available upon request.
  2. Create two codes in your system: ‘Recycling Program Sign Up’ for client enrollment and ‘Pill Vial Recycle’ for returned vials.
  3. Decide on a client incentive. For example, a 10% discount on the dispensing fee for each returned pill vial.
  4. For pets on chronic medications or refills:
    1. When a client calls for a medication refill with a pill vial return, store the medication in a labeled glass amber jar.
    2. Upon the client’s arrival, transfer the medication from the jar to the returned vial, affix a new prescription label, and return it to the client.
    3. This method is useful if you can’t prepare medications upon arrival.
  5. For clients returning vials with no prescription refills:
    1. Offer a credit on their account or allow them to use the discount for purchasing other items in your practice.
  6. For dirty vials:
    1. Soak them in an appropriate disinfectant (e.g., chlorhexidine), scrub, rinse thoroughly with water, and air dry overnight.
    2. Transfer cleaned vials to the ‘clean’ side of your container for reuse.

Video: Pill Vial Recycling in Your Veterinary Practice

Watch a short video on how easy it is to implement the LOOP Project’s pill vial recycling program in your clinic, and help us make waves of change in the veterinary industry!

Quick Summary

  • Client returns vial(s).
  • Code applied to client file: ‘Recycling Program Sign Up’ and/or ‘Pill Vial Recycle’.
  • Apply discount to the client file.
  • The received pill vial is either refilled or placed in the ‘dirty’ area of your recycling zone.
  • Clean and dry dirty vials before placing them in the ‘clean’ area for reuse.