Recycling Prescription Drugs

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Federal Guidelines

It's important for unused prescription drugs to be disposed of properly. Prescription drugs should only be disposed of in toilets or drains if the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so. For information about drugs that should be flushed, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.

To dispose of prescription drugs not labeled to be flushed, you might be able to take advantage of community drug take-back programs or other programs, such as household hazardous waste collection events that collect drugs at a central location for proper disposal.

When drug take-back or collection programs are not available:
  1. Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.
  2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  3. Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.
  4. Conceal or remove any personal information on the empty containers, including the prescription number, by covering it with black permanent marker or duct tape or by scratching it off.
  5. Place the sealed container with the mixture along with the empty drug containers in the trash.