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How Do I Dispose of Expired Medicine?

Many people have old bottles of medicines sitting around in their medicine cabinets. Some of these are antibiotics for long-forgotten health problems. Others are over-the-counter medications that they keep around “just in case” but have been kept past their expiry date.

These old medicines take up too much space and are unsafe to use. However, many people don’t know how to safely dispose of them. Throwing them in the garbage can actually create an environmental hazard, since the chemicals can seep into the soil. There is also the risk of children (or other people) getting their hands on these drugs and possibly overdosing on them. That’s why a lot of people took to the habit of flushing them down the toilet, which would prevent anyone from actually taking in the pills. However, this is not safe for the environment either. The medicines will only get into the water system—in fact, there have been traces of some medicines in water supplies.

The safest method is to take the expired medicines to the nearest pharmacy. Many of these places have collection drives for expired medicines, and they will be able to throw away the drugs in a safe and environmentally friendly way.

Another method is to crush the pills into a fine powder then place these in a container that is child-proof. Then, place the bottle in several layers of thick plastic bags. However, environmentalists say that plastic is not easily biodegradable.

The last method is to bring the medicine to a local hazardous waste facility.

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