Recycle Drugs, Recycle Medicine – Disposing of Medicine Properly

dual flush toilet from Toto

April 30, 2016 10am – 2pm local time, is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The DEA is promoting this day for people to turn in your unused or expired medication for safe disposal. They have a local collection site locator on their website. Over 5600 sites will take back items. Several cities near me are participating with most drop of locations at police stations. Last year 324 tons was taken back and recycled.

Pennsylvania and Delaware had their events early in September 2015.

It is important to recycle drugs and recycle medicine properly.

Local Drug Take-Back Programs

Shouldn’t the source of prescription drugs, simply take them back? How about it Walgreens, CVS!

Alameda Country near San Francisco became the first area in 2014 to require pharmaceutical companies to pay for a drug take back program.  San Francisco is attempting to follow in their footsteps. San Francisco already has several dozen drug stores with bins to take back old medications, but tax payers are footing the bill.

How Not to Dispose of Drugs and Medicine

You do not:

  1. Flush it down the drain
  2. Give it away to a friends
  3. Throw it in the trash
  4. Take it back to where you bought it

We all have heard of traces of drugs in the water system. It is time to make sure no one contributes to this any more by flushing expired or unused medicine down the drain. Wastewater treatment facilities aren’t designed to remove pharmaceuticals but someday may need to be.

Many local police departments take medicine waste as do many pharmacies.

FDA has some guidelines, some of which seem outdated. has a locator to help you find places to properly dispose of medicine.

Chemicals from medicines have been even measured in water from sewage treatment plants.  Our waste has traces of these chemicals and chemicals from cosmetics wash off from our skin as we shower.  This will be hopefully someday addressed.

Expired Drugs

A recent study by UCSF found that 86% of expired drugs that were 28 to 40 years old, were still potent.  Aspirin and Amphetamine fellow below te 90% reasonable variation allowed by the FDA.

China Trash Can Chinglish – Lost in translation

Trash can in China with bad translation, Chinglish

Here is an interesting trash can we encountered deep in the heart of China. Glad to see they are pushing recycling. Not sure why they choose Organism for Trash… Hopefully it was not due to tossing out organic matter.