Saving Human Lives and the Environment: U.S. Recycled Pill Containers Save Lives in Africa


Environmental activists have always advocated for  recycling the materials that we use in our households. Most of the things we use end up becoming waste due to our own actions.

There are some that we could recycle and use again. Even when we don’t want them, people elsewhere need them. We can donate these items through charities working in some of these deprived communities around the world. Recently, we published a study that said that our ocean will be flooded with more plastic than fish by the year 2050.

This is a fair warning to all of us; to start looking for the best ways to recycle our waste and to avoid the disposal of them in places which are critical to us.

In this article, we are telling an amazing story. A story that will inspire you to never throw away a thing, just because you have no need for it.

Malawi is a landlocked country in southeastern Africa.  According to the United Nations Human Development Index released in 2010, Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has been ranked 153 out of 169 countries, with more than half of the country’s population still living below the poverty line. Many live on less than a dollar a day.

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With this abject poverty facing many in the country, access to basic social services such as health, education, and other essential services are very limited. Particularly with health, the situation isn’t encouraging. Many people living in the rural areas struggle before getting the appropriate treatment to cure their ailments.

The greatest challenge is however, keeping these medications safe for local people who mostly purchase them at small drug shops. Small shops where these are sold, are very common in sub-Sahara Africa.

Shortage of bottles and containers for storing the various medications for local people means people carry loose pills home, either in their hands, or wrapped in papers. Another problem following this once they arrive home with the drugs, is to find ways and means to store them so that the medications stay clean, cool and dry.


But now, benevolent individuals have intervened to help solve the problem. A charity organization known as Project Malawi, from Indiana, United States has figured out a simple and highly successful solution to the problem. The founders of Project Malawi, Dick and Diana Stephens, appealed to people in the United States to donate their used pill bottles instead of throwing them away. The two put out a Facebook appeal and soon, they were getting as many as 200 packages of used bottles in their mail every day. The Good News Network reported that more than two million used bottles were donated to them the project in eight months.

They then washed and sterilized the bottles, making sure they were clean from contaminations, before sending them to Malawi. These used bottles that were taken for granted in America, are now helping to save millions of lives in Malawi.

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Previously before the arrival of the bottles from the United States, the bottle shortage was endangering the health of people who depended on daily doses of medicines for diseases from high blood pressure to HIV.

The Stephens’ are said to have already distributed over $200 million in aid to Malawi through their Malawi Project, which they founded in the year 2000.

Currently, Project Malawi has received more deliveries of used bottles, giving them an over abundance of supply. The Stephens’ have therefore decided to suspend this project for the meantime. The organization has received more bottles than it can handle.

However, other people are also doing similar work. Other organizations are receiving the used bottles. Project Malawi is using its website to direct donors to reach organizations who are currently accepting used bottles. You can click here to donate your used bottles to be used elsewhere.

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  1. This is a fair warning to all of us; to start looking for the best ways to recycle our waste and to avoid the disposal of them in places which are critical to us – please 🙂

  2. so how about we send pill bottles full of birth control pills? why would you A. stay in a country with no hope, no food, no future and B if dumb enough to stay why would you ever have kids bringing more lives into the misery they live it?


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