Thursday, March 6, 2014

How to Dispose of Expired Medication (Video)

Most of us probably have a huge stash of medication that has expired or that we picked up, tried, didn't like, and let sit in the cabinet for a year. But now it's time for spring cleaning and you want it all gone! How do you safely dispose of your old pills so that trash diggers (or children) don't find them in the garbage and give them a taste? Flush them down the toilette you say? NO! Much evidence has shown that the medication flushed down toilettes can't be fully filtered out by the water treatment facilities so basically... Your tap water may have all the antibiotics you need! (Not really, go to your doctor and get what you need if your sick because your tap water won't heal you!)

Instead, empty the pills into a sealable container, like an empty water bottle. Then fill that bottle just enough to cover the capsuals and/or tablets with some sort of "undesirable" liquid like milk, or orange juice, or both! This will make it unapealing to would be tasters plus, the liquid (especially the acidic OJ) will disolve most of the pills into a slush. Simply throw the bottle in the trash!

I filmed this short video below just so you could see what happens to pills submerged in simple salt water. It's a time lapse over about 20 minutes.

What About the Pill Bottles?

Simple! With some pill bottles the label peals clean off so you can just crumble it and toss it (or shred it if you want to be thurough). A lot of labels start to peel but then don't fully come off leaving you with bits and bits of label. Some people boil these bottles in water for a bit and then wash the labels off. I got tired of this so I have a can of black spray paint and just spray accross all my bottles before tossing them. I tried a marker but once it dried you could see all my information right through it.

So that is how I dispose of my old pills and empty prescription bottles!


  1. Funny, I've always been told to bring the expired meds back to my pharmacist, she knows how to properly dispose of them...

  2. If your pharmacy takes them back that is ULTIMATELY the best idea but lets face it, the people throwing them in the trash or flushing them don't want to go through (or can't) that trouble. So this is the best "in home" way to do it I suppose haha.


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