Malawi Needs Medicine Bottles

Early on in dealing with the back injury that laid me low last year, I realized there were going to be a good number of prescription medication bottles floating around my apartment. I couldn’t stand the idea of throwing them all away. Thinking of the sad state of American medical care, I thought, “There’s got to be some kind of art project in this.”

I thought my chance had come last Halloween, when my friend and I did a joint costume at a science-themed Halloween party. She was “old medicine” (Victorian dress and a bottle of “snake oil,” a.k.a. whisky) and I was “new medicine” (a fluorescent orange t-shirt with a billion empty prescription bottles hot-glued on) and the whole thing was pretty hilarious.

wpid-screenshot_2015-03-11-19-09-19.pngAfter the party, though, I still couldn’t bring myself to throw away all those little orange bottles. So I threw them in a storage container and figured, sooner or later I’d find the reason I was hanging onto them.

That reason turned up in my Facebook feed the other day. A friend posted a plea from a group called The Malawi Project, asking that people clean and donate their old medicine bottles to help provide safe and clean medication storage to the people of Malawi.

wpid-0314151851.jpgEarlier tonight, I started cleaning my old medicine bottles. It took two and a half hours, but  I boiled, scraped and cleaned each bottle  (the remnants of glue were particularly annoying). It wasn’t fast, but after a while I got into a rhythm, and at the end I had a full box of medicine bottles that I’m going to post out to the Malawi project this week.

wpid-0314152131.jpgI know a lot of people who take regular medication, and while it’s a little time consuming, this is such a great way to help others and keep plastic out of landfills. Set up your laptop, start up a show you enjoy, and presto – a few hours later, you’ll have done something to help others in a really concrete way. And if you do, leave a note below – and help spread the word!

6 responses to “Malawi Needs Medicine Bottles

  1. Sorry to hear about your back problems, but am pleased you were able t turn some of the pain into value for the people of Malawi. As the eighth poorest nation on earth Malawi is short of anything medical. The prescription containers are important, especially to villages and hospitals in the rural areas. Thanks for your thoughtfulness and consideration of their needs.

    • Rachel / @girl_onthego

      Thanks, Richard. I was so glad that I could use the bottles to help somewhere they were needed – what a waste to just throw them away! Now I have a box and whenever I end up with empty bottles (thankfully with nowhere near as much frequency as before) I throw them in there…when the box is full I’ll send them off again! 🙂

  2. Sorry to hear about your back problems, but am pleased you were able to turn some of the pain into value for the people of Malawi. As the eighth poorest nation on earth Malawi is short of anything medical. The prescription containers are important, especially to villages and hospitals in the rural areas. Thanks for your thoughtfulness and consideration of their needs.

  3. So this is legitimate? My husband is a 100% disabled Vietnam vet and I throw away tons of medicine bottles. Do they only take the orange ones? The VA sends lots of white ones with screw on tops. Thank you!

    • I think that as long as you can boil the bottles to get the labels off and any trace of medicine that was in the container it wouldn’t matter what color they are. Make sure the white bottles can stand to be boiled and not melt.

    • Rachel / @girl_onthego

      Hi! Sorry it took me a few days to reply, I haven’t had comment notifications for a while. The project is definitely legitimate, and as far as I know as long as the labels are removed they’ll take whatever medicine bottles they can!

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