Do not flush old medications

If you have unused or expired medications, do not flush them down the toilet or the sink. Water treatment plants are not designed to remove these chemicals, and many drugs are showing up in surface water and ground water.

Surprisingly, no specific government guidelines exist for the disposal of drugs by the consumer, and unwanted drugs are not accepted by local hazardous waste collections, so there are few good recommendations for consumers. One option is to throw drugs in the trash. While not ideal, it is less harmful to the environment than disposal into the wastewater stream. To do this safely, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep drugs in the original container, with safety lids.
  • Scratch out patient information on the labels.
  • Add absorbent material, such as kitty litter, sawdust or flour, to liquid drugs. Place liquid drugs that are in glass bottles inside a resealable bag to contain leaks should the bottle break.
  • Add water to dry tablets or capsules to dissolve them slightly.
  • Please put in the trash as close to garbage pick-up time as possible.