Improper Disposal of Medication is Costly to Health and Environment

Prescription and over-the-counter medication, while helpful and necessary for health care, can be harmful to people, animals, and the environment if not disposed of properly.

Reliable and concrete statistics are hard to come by, but it’s a safe assumption that we, as consumers, are responsible for a hefty percentage of the pharmaceutical and personal care products that wind up in lakes, rivers, and streams. In a typical U.S. household, the medicine cabinet is full of unused and expired drugs, only a fraction of which get disposed of appropriately.

Going back as far as early 2000, a U.S. Geological Survey found perceptible amounts of one or more medications in 80 percent of  water samples drawn from a network of 139 streams in 30 states.

There’s really not much question that improper pharmaceutical waste disposal continues, but there are measures that everyone can take collectively to mitigate the environmental impact.

Don’t flush it or toss it

This is the very least step that we as consumers can do to help minimize what we put in the environment. While the FDA has and still recommends flushing certain medications, the best course of action is to research a take-back program. Law enforcement, public health, and environmental professionals feel that these programs are the safest and most responsible way to dispose of unwanted and expired medicines to protect your family and to protect our waters.

The same goes for tossing medication in the trash. It is not recommended to just place unused medication in a garbage can, rather add cat litter, coffee grounds, or some other unappealing material in an effort to cut down on the chances that a child or animal might eat the contents.

Rather than gamble with the environment and the health of our communities, it is best to speak with a medical waste removal agent, like MedXwaste about disposing unused and unwanted medications.

Limit how much and how often you purchase drugs

While volume discounts are attractive for their cost-saving measures, purchasing medications in bulk often leads to a surplus of unused medication that will need disposal. Find ways to purchase prescription and OTC medications that are easy on your wallet, but also easy on the environment.

There are several things we can do as individuals to limit pharmaceutical pollution, and MedXwaste can help you and your communities navigate this often complex and confusing subject.

Call us today to learn about our training programs and medical waste removal packages.