Safe Medication Disposal

Free safe medication disposal may now be available at your local Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy and other pharmacy locations. My CVS, nor any location remotely close to me, is participating as of yet. The disposal kiosk is usually near the pharmacy section of the store.

I encourage you to check your preferred or required pharmacies as you are out and hopefully you will also contact your pharmacy directly to ask for a drug disposal kiosk at your branch if they are your prescription provider.

Zero waste isn’t just about reducing what is sent to the landfill, recycling and composting. It’s also about proper and safe methods to dispose of what we do have left. Historically people may flush pills down the toilet. Per Austin Water, “pharmaceuticals flushed or poured down the drain can end up contaminating our waters as water treatment plants are unable to fully remove these compounds before they reach the environment.” Others may throw this material away in their trash bins, but animals can dig these things out of landfills and so it is a health concern for wildlife too. Up until recently, we had to buy a mailer to send this stuff to an approved processor (and you can still find these at pharmacy counters for about $3-4) or wait until the city or sheriff’s office held a Drug Take Back Day. Now we can drop items off any time we need to in the normal course of our errands.

Expired medication

Accepted items:

Prescription medications, ointments & patches

OTC medications, ointments, lotions & liquids

Pet medications and vitamins

Aersol Cans


Not accepted items:

Needles & thermometers

Hydrogen peroxide

Illegal drugs

This is the Austin Recycles app screenshot from What Do I Do With? for proper sharps/needles disposal instructions.

Check with your local waste hauler to see how to properly dispose of non-accepted items, especially sharps and needles.

The next Drug Take Back Day will be in April 2023 if you have anything you want to hold on to:

Austin Water link:…/only-flush-toilet-paper

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