Safe Disposal: Learn The Facts



It is important to safely dispose of unused or expired medications. The resources below provide important information about medication disposal in the community or in your own home.  

In the community

Safe disposal saves lives and the environment. The two safest disposal methods are:

  • Permanent Disposal Bins – Permanent community collection sites are located across the state.
  • Community Take-back Events – The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Both of these options are FREE.

In your home 

If you cannot find or access the options above, you can also follow the steps below to dispose of most medications in your household trash: (Consumers are advised to check their local laws and ordinances to make sure medicines can legally be disposed of with their household trash)

  • Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;
  • Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
  • Throw the container in your household trash.
  • Before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medicine packaging, remember to scratch out all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.

There are a few medications that can be fatal with just one dose if used by someone other than who it was prescribed to. To prevent accidental ingestion by children, pets, or anyone else, certain medications should be flushed down the sink or toilet if they can’t be disposed of through a take-back program. Click here for a list of medicines recommended for disposal by flushing.

If you aren’t sure whether you can safely dispose of your medication in your trash or by flushing, you can search for your medication and disposal recommendations at DailyMed, or call your doctor if you are still unsure.

Additional Resources from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration