Thursday, July 23, 2009
Medicine Disposal - The Right Way
My in-laws both passed away within the last 18 months and, after cleaning out their home of the last 20 years, we were left with a large bag of medicines that were no longer needed. I struggled with how to dispose of this medicine and here's my story.
We brought the medicine home with us (and it was a lot). I called a doctor friend of mine who wasn't sure what to do with the medicine. He later called me back to say that it's possible you could bring it to a doctor's office and they would dispose of it. However, I wasn't sure of what the "how" meant - throwing it away, flushing it down the toilet... neither of which was acceptable to me.
I then went to my local pharmacy and was more surprised that no one there knew of an acceptable way to dispose of old medicine and one pharmacist actually told me to put the pills in some cat litter which would take away it's potency and then throw it all away inside the cat litter. Again, not acceptable.
Finally, I called my local hazardous waste facility and was pleased to learn that they have a program for disposing of old medicine - similar to how they dispose of sharps waste (needles, syringes, etc.).
Fortunately, they were having a hazardous waste roundup at the Rose Bowl last Saturday and I was able to take the medicine there along with some old paint and gardening fertilizer that I no longer needed.
I felt good that the medicines were being disposed of properly and I would encourage you to look into your local hazardous waste facility when you need to dispose of old medicine rather than throwing it away or flushing it down the toilet - both of which can contribute to poisoning of either our drinking water or soil.