How To Dispose of Old or Expired Medications Properly

First things first, Island Return It Recycling Centres doesn’t dispose of unused medications. In Canada, pharmacists are the best bet for this as they have a designated stewardship program in place.

When you have unused or expired medications in your home it is important that you dispose of them in a safe and responsible manner. In this blog post, we will explain how to safely remove potentially dangerous narcotics and medications from your home.

Toss It?  Nope.

The easiest thing to do is to simply throw old medicine into the trash. However, we strongly advise that you not do that!

Unused pills might be mistaken for candy by small children and sometimes this leads to tragic results. Likewise if a household pet or wild animal were to get into your garbage.

Flush It? Nope.

Some drugs are safe to flush down the toilet but not all and because expired medicines are not processed during sewage treatment, chemicals can get into and contaminate our rivers and lakes, not to mention municipal drinking water. Water treatment plants are not designed to break down the chemicals in medications leaving aquatic animals and plants in danger of contamination.  So we don’t recommend that you do that either. If you hear otherwise, because you probably will, you should refer that person to and in particular the FAQ section.

Disguise It Then Toss It? Nope

The FDA recommends mixing unused medications with something undesirable such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter then sealing the mixture in a container before tossing it in the trash BUT once at the landfill the chemicals can still leach out and wreak havoc on our environment.

What You Should Do:

We would like to point out that in Canada there is a stewardship program in place called The Medications Return Program whereby you can and should return all unused medication in oral dosage form to your local pharmacist who will then dispose of it safely for you. This is the best and easiest way to ensure safe disposal and we DO recommend this method.

No matter what you decide to do, one thing is for sure, you should NOT bring unused medications to Island Return It Recycling Centres but to a local Pharmacist to dispose your medications in a safe manner at no charge.

If you have more questions please contact us here or on our Facebook page. We will be happy to provide answers.