Dispose of Expired Medicine Responsibly

Did you know you can responsibly dispose of expired medicine?

When you throw unused or expired medicine in the trash or flush it down the toilet it ends up in our rivers and streams. Don’t do this! Protect our environment.

Contact your local pharmacy and ask if they will safely dispose of your old medication. Or gather all your old medication and visit an American Medicine Chest Challenge location near you.

The FDA website asks “Is your medicine cabinet full of expired drugs or medications you no longer use? Your medicine is for you. What’s safe for you might be harmful to someone else. The best way to dispose of your expired, unwanted, or unused medicines is through a drug take-back program.”

“The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in communities nationwide. Many communities also have their own drug take-back programs. Check with your local law enforcement officials to find a location near you or with the DEA to find a DEA-authorized collector in your community.”

For more information about how the FDA suggests you dispose of expired medicine read this article.

If you must dispose of expired medicine then the American Pharmacists Association recommends these steps for safely disposing of medication.

  • Keep the medication in its original container to identify the contents.
  • Cross out your name and prescription number for safety.
  • For pills, add salt water to dissolve them.
  • For liquids, add cat litter or dirt.
  • Seal the container and secure it with duct tape.
The American Pharmacists Association recommends these steps for safely disposing of medication. Click To Tweet

Every little bit helps in protecting our environment.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization.

She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client.

Janet is a Past Board Member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals and a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO were she has been named Organizer of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization.

She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client.

Janet is a Past Board Member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals and a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO were she has been named Organizer of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

10 Comments

  1. Linda Samuels on September 12, 2022 at 11:02 am

    Great reminder and excellent resources for proper disposal of medications. Thank you, Janet!

  2. Seana Turner on September 12, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    This is an issue in pretty much every home. It is important to know what the options are. I find that when we know what to do, we are more likely to do it!

  3. Julie Bestry on September 12, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    This is definitely important advice. Unfortunately, most pharmacies near me will not accept drugs for disposal. I do collect client meds for the April and October drug take-back days, but the police officers who participate often leave well before the scheduled end-times, so I end up taking meds to the kiosk in the lobby of the sheriff’s department. As of the start of the pandemic, it’s quite the rigamarole — you have to buzz to get someone to manually unlock the door, and then open the door in the kiosk and put just a few small things in at a time. Given this, your safety instructions are particularly apt! Thank you for sharing this.

    • Janet Schiesl on September 12, 2022 at 9:18 pm

      Sounds like a hassle, but thank you for sticking with it!

  4. Diane N Quintana on September 12, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    These are wonderful resources, Janet.

    There is a take back drugs event here in Atlanta at the end of October. I always look forward to it but I am really happy to know about these other ways to safely dispose of medications.

  5. Jill Katz on September 13, 2022 at 8:36 am

    These are great resources. Selected CVS stores will dispose of medications- it’s usually the same ones that collect the Sharp’s needles for disposal. Usually, your local pharmacy will advise you. From my experience, the average household is still confused about how/where to dispose so this is important info.

    • Janet Schiesl on September 13, 2022 at 5:01 pm

      Yes. I agree. I like when we are able to educate our neighbors about safe disposal.

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