How to Safely Dispose Medications

If there are no medicine take-back programs or DEA-authorized collectors available in your area, and there are no specific disposal instructions on the label, follow these simple steps to properly dispose of your medications in the household trash.

Step 1: Mix

Mix medication (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds.

Step 2: Place

Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag.

Step 3: Throw

Throw the container in your household trash.

Step 4: Scratch

Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable, and then dispose of the container.

How to Safely Dispose of Needles and Syringes

Place all needles and other sharps in a sharps disposal container immediately after they have been used. This will reduce the risk of needle sticks, cuts, and punctures from loose sharps. Sharps disposal containers should be kept out of reach of children and pets. If an FDA-cleared sharps container is not available, place used sharps in a strong, plastic container, like a laundry detergent or bleach bottle. The container should be leak-resistant, remain upright during use, and have a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid.

Sharps Disposal Container Note:
Overfilling a sharps disposal container increases the risk of accidental needle-stick injury. When your sharps disposal container is about three-quarters (3/4) full, follow your community guidelines for getting rid of the container. DO NOT reuse sharps disposal containers.

You should never throw loose needles in the garbage, flush used needles down the toilet, or place needles in recycling containers. Needles that retract after use, or are very small, should be disposed of like all other sharps.

Contact our US MED® Pharmacists with any questions on how to properly dispose medications at: 866-938-4482 or you may contact the FDA at 855-543-3784.

Your local area may have different guidelines for needle disposal. If you are not sure about the correct way to dispose of needles in your area, check the following resources: