How to Safely Dispose of Medications
Step One: Read the Drug Label
Step Two: Dispose or Drop Off
- Disposing of the medicine in your trash
- Dropping off your medicine at a drug take-back program
- Remove the medicine from its original bottle. Mix the drugs with something that would make them unappealing to people or pets who may go through the trash. You can use kitty litter or used coffee grounds.
- Next, place the medicine in a plastic bag with a seal or in a container with a lid. The goal is to make sure that the medicine does not spill out of this packaging. You can also use tape to further secure the bag or container.
- Do not forget about the original bottle that the medicine came in. Your privacy is important. Remove the label or use a black marker to hide your name and any other information. Before placing the bottle in the trash, check to see if it has a recycling code on the bottom. If it does and your city or town’s recycling program accepts this type of plastic, place the bottle in your recycling bin.
Drug Take-Back Program
Pharmacists Association http://www.pharmacist.com/
United States Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov/
Canadian Pharmacists Association http://www.pharmacists.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
American Pharmacists Association. APhA provides guidance on proper medication disposal use with respect and discard with care. American Pharmacists Association website. Available at: http://www.pharmacist.com/AM/Template.cfm?Section=News%5FReleases2&template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=12267. Published February 14, 2007. Accessed August 6, 2010.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Homeowner’s guide to disposal of unwanted medications. Florida Department of Environmental Protection website. Available at: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/quick%5Ftopics/publications/shw/meds/DEPMedicationDisposalFlyer.pdf. Accessed August 6, 2010.
Montgomery County, Maryland. How recycle/dispose of plastic bottles, containers, tubs and lids. Montgomery Country, Maryland website. Available at: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/dep/solidwaste/collectionservices/material%5Fdetail.asp?categoryid=16. Updated October 23, 2009. Accessed August 9, 2010.
United States Food and Drug Administration. How to dispose of unused medicines. United States Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm101653.htm. Updated April 14, 2011. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 08/2011 -
- Update Date: 08/19/2011 -