How to Dispose of Medication Safely


Medication Disposal is something that is needed to be taken seriously to avoid accidental consumption, usually by toddlers or pets. Unwanted, expired or discarded medicines could cause serious harm to environment too. 

FDA has proper guideline for disposing of medicines. This guideline includes proper disposal guidelines for disposal of pills, syringes, and inhalers.

There are generally two methods of disposing of medicines. The proper way to get rid of unwanted medications is submitting them at drug take back facilities. These places could be in the form of pharmacy stores. 


The other method of medicine disposal is flushing them in the toilet or throwing in trash. But this way of disposal of risky and not all medicines could be disposed of by flushing. To make sure that all safety measures are taken, people can opt for hiring a professional waste disposal company, such as Away Today Rubbish Removal, with the knowledge to handle medical waste with care.

In this guide we will discuss disposal methods of different types of medications and medical equipment.

The Importance of Medication Disposal

Expired or unprescribed medications could prove to be fatal for both humans and pets. A recent study have shown that a big number of cases of childrens emergency cases arise after they consume unwanted medicines. 

What kind of medication needs Disposal?

If a medicine or medical equipment falls into following categories make sure to dispose it of:

  • Expired Medicines
  • Unwanted 
  • Unused
  • Damaged or Leaking
  • Unidentified

Try to despise of medicines as quickly as possible, keeping them at home will increase the risk of accidental consumption.

Flushing Medications

If there is no drug take back facility near you, flushing might be the only option for you. According to FDA recommendations if your medicine has following ingredients you could flush it straight away. 

  • Acetaminophen
  • Benz hydrocodone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Diazepam
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Meperidine
  • Methadone
  • Methylphenidate
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Sodium oxybate
  • Tapentadol

Throwing Medications in Trash 

If you cannot flush a medicine or submit it at drug facility, you could put the medication in trash. To do that you must keep in mind the following safety measures.

  • Take out the medicines from container 
  • Mix it with some kitty litter or coffee grounds.
  • Avoid crushing of capsules or tablets
  • Use a sealed packet or container
  • Take off personal information from bottle

Disposing of Needles and Syringes

Sharp objects like needles and syringes need immediate disposal after being used. After using throw them into sharp disposal container. Make sure the container is away from the reach of children or pets. Make sure the container is not completely full and leave some empty space. Once the container is three quarters full it is ready for disposal and you could drop it off at collection sites, or pharmacies

Inhaler Products

Inhaler products usually contain chemicals that could cause fire if they are punctured or broken. It is better to contact your local trash management or recycling centers to find the proper way of their disposal. 

The Bottom Line

Make sure you ask the pharmacist regarding medicine disposal at the time of buying medicines so you could dispose them off properly.

Useful Resources:

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