How to recycle/dispose of medicine

The next Drug Take-Back Days are Saturdays, May 2 and May 30, 2015. See Drug Take-Back Day details and locations organized by Montgomery County law enforcement agencies.

Dispose of medicine as trash

You may put medicine which is expired or no longer needed into the regular household trash.

Special disposal as household hazardous waste is not necessary.

  1. Place unwanted or expired medication into a sealable plastic bag or other empty container to prevent liquid medications from leaking out.
  2. Mix with kitty litter, coffee grounds or sawdust. (Liquid medications can be solidified using kitty litter or sawdust.)
  3. Seal the bag and/or container.
  4. Put the bag and/or container containing the medication into your regular household trash.
  5. Remove the label with the patient's name from the original medicine vial or bottle.
  6. Place the empty plastic vial or bottle into your blue recycling bin. Empty aerosol inhalers can be recycled in your recycling bin, too.

Do not dispose of medicine by pouring it down the drain or into a toilet, unless the label or patient instructions specifically advise this.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that a very small list of extremely powerful narcotic pain relievers and other controlled substances should be disposed by flushing them down the toilet if these drugs cannot be disposed of through a drug take-back program. View current FDA list.

Donate medicine for reuse

Some organizations accept unused medicine. The medicine they collect is then sent to clinics in other countries.

Check our "Use It Again" guide for medicine recycler listings. Montgomery County has compiled these listings through various sources and does not present them as a complete directory of all organizations or companies, nor offer them as an endorsement of any of the organizations.

  1. Select the "Medicine & Medical Equipment" category
  2. Click on "Donate/Recycle it"
  3. Then, click the "Start your search!" button.
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Division of Solid Waste Services - full site