Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and University of Illinois Extension

Unused Medicine

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How we choose to use and dispose of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) impacts water quality—the water that we drink, bathe in, and use for recreation. Most of us do not use all of the medication that we buy. But using the toilet or trash to dispose of medicine can put people, animals, and the environment at risk. So that raises the question—how do we get rid of our unwanted medicines?

And what about all the soap, shampoo, cosmetics, lotions, fragrances, and sunscreens that we use? There are thousands of these personal care products on the market. Contrary to popular belief, many of the chemicals are not regulated for safety, long-term health impacts, or environmental damage.

This site will help you find a local medicine collection program, provides tips on how to dispose of medicine if there isn’t a collection program nearby, explains how to start a new collection program, directs you to alternative personal care products, and encourages you to engage your community in learning about PPCPs.