Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and University of Illinois Extension

How Do I Properly Dispose of My Unwanted Medicines?

1. Don't flush medications down the toilet.

2. Take unwanted medicine to a collection program. The medicine is destroyed at regulated incinerators.

3. If a collection program is not available in your area, either use a medicine mail-back envelope (available at many pharmacies) or dispose of the medicine in the trash after following these tips:

  • Keep medication in its original container.
  • Remove or blacken out all personal information, but leave the name and dose of the medication visible.
  • Add a safe and unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds to the medication and then replace the lid.
  • Seal the medicine bottle in a leak-proof container such as a coffee can. Dispose of in the trash as close to pick-up day as possible.