Reducing Waste When Sick

So I’ve been sick for the past month or so, first with acid reflux, which is mostly cured by now, with a mixture of diet, traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine, and now with the flu… which mostly entails sniffling and coughing a lot.

Three doctor visits later, I’ve accumulated a lot of waste from all the medicines etc. So here are a few ways to reduce waste when sick:

  • Refuse all unnecessary plastic.

If you get prescribed liquid medicines, they’ll likely offer you a plastic two-sided spoon to pour your medicines in. We’ve learned, however, that there’s an easier–or lazier–way, just gauge the amount you’re supposed to drink (usually 10ml) and take that amount straight from the bottle. So I refused the spoon as well as the plastic bag I was supposed to store the medicines in.

  • Reuse.

If you visit the doctor quite regularly like I unfortunately do, there’s bound to be some repetitions of the medicine that they prescribe. If you can, write a list of the medicines that you have and tell the doctor what you have and then finish that one instead. I did this for my gastric/nausea, and it helps reduce the amount you pay as well as waste.

  • Try to find more zero waste options.

I was amused to find that the traditional medicine clinic I went to actually supports green practices. The sachets are all biodegradable, if I remember correctly, and they can create your medication just from plant-based sources. (It’s still gonna be super bitter and expensive, but at least it’s less wasteful).

  • Bring a small bag to put all the medicines in.

If you have a produce bag or something small, that would be ideal to put your medicines in so you can refuse their plastic bags. I usually refuse their plastic bags if the medicines are tablets and a small bottle and just carry them home with me.

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