How you should dispose of unused or expired medications
Flushing or throwing away leftover drugs can contaminate waterways, threatening people and wildlife. Here are some safer solutions.
If you have a stash of unwanted, unused, or expired medicines in a cabinet or drawer somewhere in your home and you don’t know the best way to get rid of them, you’re not alone.
A 2021 survey conducted on behalf of Covanta, a New Jersey-based waste management company, found that 53 percent of the 2,000 Americans polled had no idea what to do with their old medications. Pill hoarding is a common outcome, and many people eventually toss these drugs into household trash or flush them down the toilet or sink—none of which may be a good idea.
Unused or expired medicines lying around at home can get into the wrong hands, leading to accidental poisoning or drug overdose.