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Proper Disposal of Medications

Follow your medication prescriber's instructions and use all medications as instructed.  If you do not use all of your prescribed or over-the-counter medication, you can take a few small steps to make a huge impact in safeguarding lives and protecting the environment by disposing of unused medicines properly:

1. DO NOT FLUSH* unused medications and DO NOT POUR them down the sink or drain.

2. Be proactive and dispose of unused medication in the household trash. When discarding unused medications, ensure you protect children and pets from potentially negative effects:

  • Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag.  If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), add water to dissolve it.
  • Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag.
  • Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
  • Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.

3. Check for federal, state and local approved collection programs.  Visit the National Take Back Initiative site for more information.

4. Consult your pharmacist at 1-877-490-3577 with any questions.

*Flush prescription medications down the toilet ONLY if the label specifically instructs doing so.

For more information on the proper disposal of medications, please visit the FDA website.

Sharps (Syringes and Other Injection Devices) Disposal

The best container to use for products contaminated with bodily fluids, such as syringes, is a hard plastic sharps disposal container (usually red in color).  These containers are available from a vast array of online and retail stores. Alternatively, an empty hard plastic detergent bottle works well.  The containers or sharps SHOULD NOT be disposed of with regular trash!

There may be a number of resources available for the disposal of sharps containers depending on the local community.  The best option is to contact the local solid waste agency or refer to the FDA's website on safe disposal (below).  Also, some hospitals accept these containers from the public.

Needles and Other Sharps (Safe Disposal Outside of Health Care Settings): FDA website