Every month, when I order my Copaxone, it comes to me in a 1 foot by 1 foot styrofoam cube, covered in butcher’s paper with frozen gel packs on either side. This makes very good sense, since Copaxone needs to be refrigerated.
However, once it’s at my apartment, it goes in the refrigerator – hence, no more need for the cube-o-styrofoam. For a long time there, I kept the gel packs, because, well, with MS you can get pseudoexacerbations when you’re overheated. Having cool gel packs around means quick relief… but after 2 years, I have 48 ice packs. That’s kinda crazy. Needless to say, I share with family and friends.
But what about the styrofoam containers? I know that I’m now responsible for 50 square feet of non-biodegradable styrofoam waste, just chillin out in a landfill somewhere. In my book, that is NOT cool.
I mean, really, it’s enough to know that my immune system is slowly eating my brain… and that it’s costing $140K/yr for this medicine… do we have to receive it in a way that causes us to also pollute so egregiously?
And what about all the plastic bottles from our regular prescriptions? I must throw 5-6 of those bottles away a month. Couldn’t we recycle those? I mean, wouldn’t those pharmacies make themselves look great if they gave you a credit of like $1 for every 5 prescription bottles you bring in? Or even just collecting them so they could be sanitized and used again?
And what about the leftover meds you have when you find out you’re allergic to something? What about the poor who could REALLY benefit from those meds? If we flush them down the toilet or put em in the sink, we pollute our water supply. We throw them away, they eventually leach into the earth anyway. Why aren’t we using them to help people?
Things like this swim in my head all the time. I don’t know how to do something about it.
I think about collecting the styrofoam containers to make art, but I’m not much of a visual artist. Then I think about trying to find a way to contact others who receive their meds the same way. I wonder how many medicines are delivered like this, and I think about how many “Walks for the Cure” or “Walk MS” events there are — and I think about how many frozen gel packs we could have on the side of the walks for people.
I dunno. I’m not even sure how I would organize it. Or if it’s mine to do. But if I’m thinking about it, then why not? It’s a positive difference to make. A really positive one.
Recycle, reduce, reuse, right?
I mean, in the short term, we should at least find a way to use what’s being currently used for more than one go-round. I could also use them as planters. Then later, I know styrofoam can be used for insulation purposes too.
Maybe there’s something bigger here. Who knows. Readers — I could really use some help here, if you have any ideas.
I just don’t want to make the world die faster in an attempt to make my life more enjoyable for the few years I get to be here. I want to help make it a better place, and that it begins with me.