U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. Drugs
  3. Resources for You | Drugs
  4. Drug Information for Consumers
  5. Buying & Using Medicine Safely
  6. Ensuring Safe Use of Medicine
  7. Safe Disposal of Medicines
  8. Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know
  9. Drug Disposal: Dispose "Non-Flush List" Medicine in Trash
  1. Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know

Drug Disposal: Dispose "Non-Flush List" Medicine in Trash

Follow these simple steps before trashing medicines that are not on the flush list at home

If no drug take back sites, locations, or programs are available in your area, and there are no specific disposal instructions (such as flushing) in the medication guide or package insert, you can follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in your trash at home*:

  1. Mix medicines (liquid or pills; do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unappealing substance such as dirt, cat litter, or used coffee grounds;
  2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag;
  3. Throw away the container in your trash at home; and
  4. Delete all personal information on the prescription label of empty medicine bottles or medicine packaging, then trash or recycle the empty bottle or packaging.
Disposal in household trash

*Other technologies which provide additional options for disposing of medicines have been developed.