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Unwanted Medicine

Although common in many homes, unused and expired over-the-counter and prescription medications should not be treated like other kinds of household waste. When they're not disposed of properly, medications can enter our drinking water supply and also may harm fish and other aquatic wildlife. Follow these tips to properly dispose of unwanted medicines and reduce your impact to the environment:

  • Do not put medications down the drain or flush them in the toilet. Disposing of medicine in the sewer system can contaminate our water supply with chemicals. Some of these chemicals can't be removed with the standard water and wastewater treatment process.

  • Instead, bring unwanted medicines to a local medicine collection program where it will be disposed of properly. A list of collection sites is available through the state's Recycle Indiana program. See Unwanted Medicine.

  • If you're unable to deliver medicines to a collection program, purchase a postage-paid envelope made especially for medicine disposal, and mail the medicine to a processing center that will dispose of it safely. Many pharmacies have these envelopes for sale.

  • If none of the options above are possible and you must throw unwanted or expired medicines in the trash, follow the recommendations to prepare them for disposal on the Recycle Indiana Unwanted Medicine Web page. These suggestions will help to minimize the impact that medications may have on our groundwater sources.