Medication Disposal

Don't Flush That Leftover Medicine!


What is exactly is defined as pharmaceutical waste - Dubbed "pharmaceuticals and personal care products as pollutants" (PPCPs), by the EPA, these products include:

  • Prescription and over-the counter therapeutic drugs
  • Veterinary drugs
  • Fragrances
  • Cosmetics
  • Sun-screen products
  • Diagnostic agents
  • Nutraceuticals (e.g., vitamins)

Sources of PPCPs range from pharmaceutical manufacturing, residues in hospitals and the typical medicine cabinet.Wastewater treatment systems are not designed to remove many of these medications and they may cause contamination of Florida's aquatic environment.

Photo of pills

To protect the environment, please use these guidelines instead of flushing medications:

  • Keep in the original container. This will help identify the contents if they are accidentally ingested.
  • Mark out your name and prescription number for safety.
  • For pills: add some water or soda to start dissolving them; For liquids: add something inedible like cat litter or dirt
  • Close the lid and secure with duct or packing tape
  • Place the bottle(s) inside an opaque (non see-through) container like a detergent container.
  • Tape that container closed.
  • Hide the container in the trash. Do not put it in the recycle bin.

DO NOT give drugs to anyone else
DO NOT flush drugs down the toilet.
DO NOT put drugs in the trash without disguising them - human or animal scavengers may find them and misuse them.


Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) 7 Steps to Safety - Practical Guidelines for disposing of unwanted medications.