How Do You Properly Dispose of Medication

How Do You Properly Dispose of Medication

Thank you Know Your OTCs for sponsoring this easy evening routine for working moms post.  As always all thoughts and opinions are my own .


Working as a medical provider I’ve heard it all. You would be shocked at how long some of my patients hold onto their medication. It’s one of the few things we remember to clean out, but at the end of the day, the potency decreases and medications do have an expiration date. That’s why I’m here to remind you: Don’t forget to toss your medications. In full transparency, If you take a look into my medicine cabinet, you might find some expired medications stashed away too.

While adding it along to my list of Things That Need Spring Cleaning, I want to make sure that we are all well informed on the proper way to dispose of medication. Did you know that you’re not supposed to just toss your old and expired medicines in the trash? That’s right; there’s a proper way to dispose of any type of medication you may no longer need. So, how do you do it?

Here’s the recommended way to safely dispose of medications at home.

Properly Dispose of Medication

  1. First, take your medication that’s either no longer being used or expired.

2. Pour them into a ziplock bag and mix them with an undesirable substance like dirt, coffee grounds or even this colored sand I used here.

3. Then toss this mixture into the trash.

Make sure not to crush your medications before throwing them away. I’ll explain why later in this post.

By mixing your pills with an unpalatable substance, it is deemed safe to toss in the trash.

Around 50% of adults generally just throw medications in the garbage without properly mixing — only 8% mix, which is a minimal number. If you have always wondered the proper way to get rid of medications, this is the appropriate way.

Community Take Back Day

Another route is to ask when your community take-back day is being held. This is where The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) hosts a temporary collection site in communities all over the country to help everyone properly dispose of their expired or unwanted meds. The next upcoming take-back day is set for Saturday, April 27th. So check out take-back day to find where to go in your area.


Don’t Crush Medications When You Throw Them Away

Wondering why I said not to crush medication when you’re throwing it away? The reason is, when someone picks up your trash they can breathe in dust that could be created by the medication. Crushing the pill could allow them to inhale the particles which could be very harmful.

The Proper Way To Dispose of Medications

For controlled substances, you want to be aware of the additional dangers of tossing it in the garbage. If someone finds certain drugs and has a problem with addiction, they might grab the medicine and take it even not fully knowing what it is. There is only so much we can do in the situation but make sure not to include the labels to the medication with any pills you toss out.

Know Your OTC

Head over to and learn all about safe disposal and the proper way to get rid of medication that you don’t need.

Have you put any thought into how you dispose of your old medications?

How Do You Properly Dispose of Medication

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