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Tuesday, September 13, 2011


We all hate to waste, but some things really do need to be tossed after their expiration date, especially medicines. Health editor Janice Kerr is here today to give you a lesson is safe disposal of medicines. -- AP

Thanks, Anastasia! Too many people flush unused pills down the toilet or pour liquids down the drain. This is not good. The meds get into our waterways and then into our drinking water. Tossing them out in the trash is no better. Animals and even children can find them and accidentally ingest them.

Many pharmacies and some police stations now have drop-offs for unused medications. They mail your discarded meds to special facilities where they’re disposed of in a safe, environmentally friendly way. So check with your local pharmacy or police.

If you don’t have a drop-off center in your community, here’s a safe way to dispose of the medicines yourself. Before throwing them in the trash, mix the pills in with coffee grounds or kitty litter, and seal the mixture in a heavy duty plastic bag. Seal that plastic bag in another heavy duty plastic bag.

Thanks, Janice! So many of us used to think we were doing the right thing by flushing unused pills down the toilet. Now we know not to.  Post a comment to enter the drawing for a free e-book from our Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP


Anonymous said...

I'm curious. Why coffee grounds or kitty litter? Do they do something to neutralize the medicines? Thanks for choosing this topic for today's Healthy Living column, it reminds me that I need to go through the medications in my cabinet and get rid of what has expired.

Kathy Nycz


I think the coffee grounds and kitty litter are meant to keep kids and animals from putting the pills in their mouths, should they come across them in the trash. Probably has to do with the smell and texture. That's just a guess, though. Lots of places recommend this method, but nothing I came across indicated why.

Liz V. said...

Noticed a sign for free disposal at a pharmacy, for the first time today. Remembered this posting. Thanks.