Novo Nordisk are a global healthcare company, founded in Denmark in 1923.

Our purpose at Novo Nordisk UK is to defeat diabetes, obesity, rare blood and hormone disorders, to improve the lives of millions of people in the UK. Today, we supply over half the world’s insulin. 

Everything we do is based on acting socially, environmentally and financially responsibly with planned zero environmental impact. We call this “Circular for Zero”. We are proud to be working together with a range of organisations providing services in the UK healthcare sector to bring PenCycle to life. 

This information can be found on the label of your pen. If you’re unsure, you can always ask at the pharmacy.

Other medical devices, for example insulin vials, insulin pumps and pens from other companies, cannot currently be recycled as part of PenCycle, but our goal is to find an industry-wide solution. Only pre-filled Novo Nordisk pens can be returned to us in the supplied, dedicated PenCycle return box, which you can pick up from participating pharmacies. 

At the moment, you can drop off your PenCycle return box containing your empty pens at any participating pharmacy in the following areas:

  • Glasgow
  • Leicestershire & Rutland
  • Greater Manchester, including:



Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale





Tameside & Glossop



You can find more information about participating pharmacies in the  “Where can I PenCycle?” section of this website.

No, pens can only be recycled through the PenCycle initiative. PenCycle will use existing logistical routes to minimise the environmental impact, and GP surgeries, secondary care clinics and hospital clinics are not currently part of these routes.


The three pilot areas have been selected to test the initiative. As soon as we know PenCycling works, our plan is to involve the rest of the UK. 



Every pre-filled Novo Nordisk pen returned to us through PenCycle will be recycled and given new purpose. We have already started this process in Denmark, where we have shown the positive impact repurposing these materials can have: 

  • The plastic has gone into new furniture
  • The glass has been repurposed into lightbulbs

Every pen that is returned to us will be sent back to our specialist facility in Denmark to be recycled. This process will use existing logistical routes to minimise the environmental impact. Every shipment of pens will be tracked and recorded to make sure none of them end up in landfill or incinerated.  

Usually, empty medical devices like your pen are sent to landfill or destroyed as hazardous waste through incineration. Incineration uses a lot of energy and leaves some plastic waste behind. By PenCycling, you are making sure your pen is repurposed in an environmentally friendly way. 



Yes. These are made from recyclable materials and will be recycled as part of the PenCycle process. 


No. Pharmacists have been invited to participate in the initiative to support environmental targets, but they will not receive money to collect pens.