Safe Disposal of Medication

Pharmaceutical compounds in the water environment are a matter of increasing scientific research regarding how they may affect people and wildlife. If medications are flushed down a toilet or otherwise get into the sewer system, pharmaceuticals may get into a creek, river or lake that is a water supply. Wastewater treatment plants, septic systems and drinking water treatment plants are not designed to remove pharmaceutical compounds.

The U.S. Environmental protection agency’s guidelines

Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying information specifically instructs you to do so. For information on drugs that should be flushed, visit the FDA's webpage.

Call your city or county government's household trash and recycling service and ask if a drug take-back program is available. If a drug take-back or collection program is not available:

    • Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.
    • Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
    • Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable plastic bag.
    • Conceal or remove any personal information, including the Rx number, on the empty containers by covering it with black permanent market or duct tape, or by scratching it off.
    • Place the sealed container with the mixture, and empty the drug containers, in the trash.