How can I safely dispose of my medications?

  • Most prescription and OTC medicines can be thrown away in the household trash.
  • A few best practices are outlined below:
    • Mix the medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds. This prevents thievery or diversion of medicines from the trash.
    • Then, place the mixture in a container such as a zip-lock or sealable plastic bag, and throw the container away in your household trash.
    • Remove the label and/or scratch off all personal information on the label when disposing of a prescription vial.
    • Flush prescription medications down the toilet only if the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs doing so (i.e., for specific medications, such as prescription pain relievers that have a high potential to be abused; check the FDA’s list of medicines recommended for disposal by flushing.). Otherwise, medicines can be thrown away in the household trash.
    • Take advantage of pharmacy “take-back” programs or solid waste programs to dispose of unused or expired medicines.
  • Needles/Sharps Container Disposal

    • Rules and regulations on the disposal of needles varies across states and localities. State specific information on the disposal of needles can be found at
  • Additional Resources:

Go back to 

Did you find it helpful? Yes No

Send feedback
Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.