We flush unneeded medication because we think that it dissolves in the sewage system and is simply gone. In reality, the following statistics have been found:
- A recent study shows that 80 percent of US streams contain small amounts of human medicines. Sewage systems cannot remove these medicines from water that is released into lakes, rivers or oceans.
- Fish and other aquatic animals have shown adverse effects from medicines in the water and even very small amounts of medicine have been found in drinking water.
Take-back programs can be:
- Ongoing drop-off programs.
- One-day collection events.
- Mail-back programs.
- Combinations of these approaches.
to dispose of leftover and expired medicines.
- Ongoing drop-off programs are usually at a pharmacy or a law enforcement office.
- Take-back programs use secure equipment and procedures to prevent theft or diversion.
- Collected medicines are destroyed in a way that protects our environment.
- Community demand for medicine take-back programs is high, but most communities do not have a program.
Current federal regulations allow only law enforcement to collect controlled substances. A new federal law will allow additional collection options.
- Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;
- Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
- Throw the container in your household trash.
- Before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medicine packaging, remember to scratch out all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. Some labels are also heat-sensitive. In these cases, using a heat gun or a hand-held torch will render the name, type of drug, and other information completely illegible.
If you have unused, unwanted, or unneeded medications, please contact your local police non-emergency line. Visit our website at www.wasteawaygroup.com for the most up-to-date lists of flushable drugs and for more information on residential trash pick-up and recycling.