DON’T: Flush expired or unwanted prescription and over the-counter drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.
DO: Return unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs to a drug take-back program or follow the steps for household disposal below.
1ST CHOICE: DRUG TAKE-BACK EVENTS
To dispose of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, call your city or county government’s household trash and recycling service and ask if a drug take-back program is available in your community. Some counties hold household hazardous waste collection days, where prescription and over-the-counter drugs are accepted at a central location for proper disposal.
2ND CHOICE: HOUSEHOLD DISPOSAL STEPS*
*Drug Disposal Guidelines, Office of National Drug Control Policy, October 2009
How Proper Disposal of Medicines Protects You and the Earth:
How Improper Disposal of Medicines May End Up in Our Drinking Water Sources
In homes that use septic tanks, prescription and over-the-counter drugs flushed down the toilet can leach into the ground and seep into ground water.
In cities and towns where residences are connected to wastewater treatment plants, prescription and over-the-counter drugs poured down the sink or flushed down the toilet can pass through the treatment system and enter rivers and lakes. They may flow downstream to serve as sources for community drinking water supplies. Water treatment plants are generally not equipped to routinely remove medicines.