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Why aren't we recycling glucose meters?
Concern for the environment?
An overlooked source of environmental harm
The invention of the glucose meter revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. People are now able to track their blood sugars and get better control of their illness. There are numerous devices on the market, and even store-brand "generic" meters that people can obtain. In some cases the meter is given away free by the manufacturer. The test strips that the machine uses are not free, however and this is how the companies make their money. While the devices are small and easy to use and transport, they are like any other device. They break and they become out of date. It is not unusual for a diabetic person to get a new meter every year or two years. As a result there are thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of old glucose meters in drawers, on medicine cabinet shelves and in the trash. It is not uncommon for a person to have three or four old meters sitting around the house. Meter technology advances like every other technology. The new meters are easier to use or smaller or more convenient in some way, so the old meter is no longer used.
But what do you do with these old meters? Why aren't they being recycled? A glucose meter has almost as much carbon footprint as a cell phone. There are plenty of places that you can recycle a cell phone. Some people will even pay you if you have a late model phone in good condition. (They won't pay you much, but they will pay you, and let you ship it free). But I did an internet search and only found ONE company, in Canada, that will take a glucose meter for recycling. They take the meter and melt it down and recover the useful components for resuse. I applaud this company for their efforts. But why are they the only ones doing this? And Canada? What is wrong with the good old U.S. of A.?
It seems to me that all this green talk is just that...talk. We are recycling cell phones and PCs because it is profitable. Recycling glucose meters is not that profitable so no one is doing it or even talking about it. And meanwhile the little gadgets are piling up. Are we really serious about keeping our planet alive or not? Not only is there a need to recycle these things from an environmental standpoint. It could be a source of jobs, which we badly need here right now.
We have toxins in our water, in our air, in our soil and in our bodies. The fact is that if the planet is messed up, we still have to live in it. We will be the ones to suffer the consequences of daily exposure to all these bad substances. Moving to another planet is the stuff of science fiction movies but it's not happening any time soon. Pointing fingers at one another and blaming doesn't help either. Action is what is necessary. I have diabetic people living in my house and I know we have at least one or two old meters sitting around. Until now I didn't know what to do with them, but I am going to send them to this company in Canada. I plan to encourage everyone else I know to do so, too. It might cost some money but isn't it worth it to have a healthier place to live?
I also plan to start some discussion with the drugstore, the doctor's office, and the companies that make these things. There should be more effort made to recycle used glucose meters. If nobody says anything, nothing will change.