Safer Medication Disposal Options

Wondering what to do with your collection of expired and unwanted pills after you clean out your medicine cabinet? 

Well, if you’ve got the feeling that you shouldn’t flush these prescription and over-the-counter drugs down the toilet or throw them in your garbage cart—your eco vibe is right on target. These items are considered household hazardous waste.

Improper medication disposal—pills, capsules, liquids—can definitely mess with the well-being of people, animals, and the environment. Drugs of all types can pollute soil and groundwater. 

And, since most wastewater treatment plants don’t remove man-made chemicals from medications, the chemicals in them can contaminate water supplies, including drinking water! Fortunately for the future of our planet, you’ve got green options. 

Good Green Habits for Medications

Take these steps to dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications to keep environment healthy:

  • Visit for disposal locations.
  • Watch for advertised medication take-back events.
  • As a last resort, place them in your garbage cart* using these eco measures: 
    • Keep pills, capsules and liquid medications in original, non-breakable containers with tightly secured lids. 
    • Mark out personal information on medication containers. 
    • Pills and capsules in blister packs should be wrapped in several layers of durable tape.
    • Hide containers inside paper bags, boxes or plastic tubs. 
    • Place wrapped, concealed containers in garbage cart.

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