Recycle your unused medicines

(updated 4/20/17)

Have you ever wondered what to do with your leftover medications? I hate to throw out anything that might have another use or can be recycled. I’ve never wanted to throw old medicine for fear that an animal might eat it at a landfill and get sick. If I flush them, I worry about polluting our water sources. So what do you do?

There are several choices depending on the type of medication.

  1. Throw them out in your regular trash or flush them in your toilet.
    See the FDA’s guidelines for what can be thrown away and what can be flushed.
  2. Dispose of them through the National Take-Back Initiative, which sponsors collection events for prescription drugs. This is usually around Earth Day.
  3. Donate to a charity that can repurpose the medicines. See Recycling mystery: Medication (from Earth 911)

I keep a bag in my bathroom closet, so that when I am decluttering, I can save those expired medicines to get rid of later.

For more information and to understand why this is important:

For more information on recycling other items:

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4 thoughts on “Recycle your unused medicines

Add yours

  1. Very important topic – not just for individual’s to consider for their own med disposal, but also for those with elderly family members and friends who may have accumulated “stashes” of medicines they no longer take. My experience is that as we age and start to require more RXs, the likelihood of side effects/drug interactions increases, so – oftentimes – doctors need to “tweak” things before the patient has used up the entire bottle of the original item(s).

    1. Thanks for your nice comments. I am glad this article was helpful. We can do so much good by disposing of medicines properly – for our families and the environment!

  2. Very interesting. I never knew that medicine could be recycled to pharmacies like CVS. I never thought much about disposing medication, but thanks to your post, I’ll always think twice now before I dispose of leftover medication.

    1. So glad to hear it was helpful. I always get excited when I can find one more thing to recycle instead of throwing away. I hope you will take a look at some of my other posts, too. Have a good day!

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