How to Safely Dispose of Medicine – National Take Back Day

I get a number of requests from clients for information about how to properly dispose of medicine bottles and medications. Now if you’re saying to yourself, “Just dump the stuff in the trash,” you might want to read this brief overview of the issues related to that so-called quick fix (as well as a list of possible solutions): read here


Our greatest challenge in San Antonio is that (as of this posting) pharmacies and doctors’ offices in our city aren’t active members in “take back” or medicine disposal programs. Here’s a brief description of that challenge from the San Antonio Express-News (as well as a few good tips): read here <<Bummer, the Express-News removed the article.>> Check with your pharmacist and doctors to see if they participate in disposal programs.

DisposeMyMeds is a national registry where you can search for disposal program participants. Search here.

If you are willing to pay for a mail-in service for disposing of needle-related medications, you can Google the term “sharps mail-back” and find a company that fits your criteria.

The DEA offers special collections called National Take Back Day to properly dispose of your medicine and medications twice per year, but you’ll have to check to see if organizations and businesses in your area sign up to participate. The next event is coming up on Saturday, April 26, 2014Check for locations here. (Click on “Locate a Collection Site Near You“)


Now, here’s some good news for San Antonio!

SAWS, the City of San Antonio’s Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD), and SAPD have experimented with their own “take back” program, which they call MedDropSA. This is currently the only program in San Antonio for disposing of medicines. Their next event is coming up on July 12, 2014Check here for details.

If your empty medicine bottles are plastic #1-7, you can put them in your recycling bin. To protect your identity, either soak the bottles in water to remove the labels or get a hefty permanent marker to scratch out your name. Check here for City of San Antonio recycling details.

If you are able to talk a local pharmacy into having a program set up for daily medicine bottle disposal, please feel free to announce that here!