Recycle unwanted medications

Medications are not recyclable, but many pharmacies will take back medications and government programs will accept anything not considered a controlled substance. Pill containers are sometimes recyclable, but make sure they are clean and labels are removed.

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Frequent Unwanted or Expired Medication Recycling Questions

Can I flush medications down the drain?

No. Putting unused medications down the drain or flushing them down the toilet may expose drinking water to the chemicals. Many of them cause ecological harm, and our current sewage treatment systems are not effective in removing all drugs from waterways.

What’s the best way to dispose of medication?

There are a couple of options to recycle your medications responsibly. You can take advantage of Drug Take Back programs that are held a couple times a year by municipalities and National Drug Take Back Days that are provided by the Federal DEA. Mail back programs are also easy and convenient. Jump to the recycling locator to find one now.

According to SmaRxt Disposal- you can safely dispose of your unused and expired medications in your household trash. They recommend these steps:

  1. Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), add water to dissolve it.
  2. Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag.
  3. Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
  4. Remove and destroy all identifying personal information (prescription label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.


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Can I send them back to the manufacturer?

No. Manufactures send consumers who ask about safely disposing medications to SmaRxt Disposal for information.

Do any pharmacies take back medications?

Yes, some take back medications at their location, while others provide mail back envelopes to send your drugs to other companies that will dispose of them properly.