Proper Drug Disposal

Proper Drug Disposal

  • Take advantage of community pharmaceutical take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Some communities have pharmaceutical take-back programs or community solid-waste programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Where these exist, they are a good way to dispose of unused pharmaceutics.
  • Unless the directions say otherwise, do NOT flush medications down the drain or toilet because the chemicals can pollute the water supplies, rivers, and lakes.
  • Mix prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and put them in containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags, to make sure the drugs aren’t found and abused by someone else.

What to do with Sharps?

Accidental needle-sticks from improperly disposed syringes are an unwanted reality for thousands of people each year. That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency began advising the public of the proper disposal of syringes with the mail-back product being a recommended solution. The Sharps Disposal by Mail System® is government approved and includes a specially designed mailable sharps container, a postage prepaid return shipping box with barcode tracking, a protective 4–mil bag liner, instructions in both English and Spanish, and a multi–part simplified manifest tracking form. The cost of mailing, disposal, and confirmation of destruction is included in the purchase price. For more information: 

Some pharmacies and other stores carry mail-back sharps containers. Check with your local retailer or the internet for sources of these containers.

As a last resort, dispose of sharps in a well-marked and covered liquid laundry detergent container (tape it closed) and dispose of in the household trash, not recycling.

How Can I Find More Information about Disposing of Sharps?