Do you have leftover medicine? You might not have known about this… 14



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Have you ever opened your medicine cabinet and there are so many bottles you have to read the labels so you know which bottle to take out? You are not alone, most people simply don’t clean out their medicine cabinet as frequently as they should and more often than not, they keep certain medication as a “just in case” back up. The problem is medication is not designed to last indefinitely and they have expiry dates same as milk and bread.

However unlike milk and bread you should not dispose of your unwanted medication through general waste or sewage options. Instead there is a new project that can take care of medication disposal for you!

When you dispose medicines down the drain or into your normal bin, they can end up in our waterways or landfills and when they break down they can become very damaging to our environment. It can contribute to pollution of our waterways and in general should be discouraged. Instead you can take your unwanted medicine to your local pharmacy and allow them to dispose of the them safely.

As if you don’t already have enough reasons to get involved with this project, one of the leading causes of poisoning within the home is not from chemicals like bleach but from out of date medication.

Follow these 4 steps to safely return your unwanted medicine:

  1. Go to your home medicine cabinet.
  2. Check all expiry dates on medication bottles and separate all expired medicines into a container for return.
  3. Double check that you actually need all the medicines – separate those medicines no longer needed into the container for return.
  4. Take the container to your local pharmacy for disposal.

You can read more about returning unwanted medicine here on the RUM Project website.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. This isn’t a new thing, I’ve been doing this for quite a few years now. Safest and best way to get rid of unused medications.

  2. A lot of pharmacies do not take medications back to dispose of them due to liability issues and not having a way to dispose of them currently. There are drop boxes that are currently being set up in CA and moving across the country. My pharmacist at Walgreens said a few pills can be disposed of in used coffee grounds or cat litter and put in trash, as that deters pets from eating them. If more than a few, do not use this method, you can buy a kit to mail to a company that disposes of used medication, or call your local law enforcement agencies…they usually have dates and times they dispose of people’s used or old medication. NEVER flush medication down the toilet or dissolve and pour than sink! This can be very harmful to ground water, landfills, etc. as it can release the toxicity into areas and not only kill vegetation, but also animals, fish, even humans. KEEP IT SAFE AND DO THE RIGHT THING!

  3. Have your current medications packed by your pharmacy! It is a free service & stops the accumulation of excess medication at home! It is called Webster packing

    1 REPLY
  4. In Australia, medicines can be dropped into chemists and they forward them to, I think, a company that incinerates the medication.

  5. How do you have left over medicine, if it has been prescribed why not take it ?

    1 REPLY
    • Sometimes the Dr can change your meds and you then no longer need the meds that were previously required. They then sit in the cupboard or a draw.

  6. We don’t have prescription medications left over, usually find we have a lot of over the counter things like cough medicines and cold and flu tablets left in the box.

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