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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Disposal of Medication and Prescription Bottles

The FDA has a set of guidelines on what to do with expired or unused medicine:

As part of the guidelines, there are 15 drugs on the list that are recommended to be flushed down the toilet in case a take-back program is not readily available. To avoid polluting our waters with those chemicals, disposing of those drugs through proper disposal channels should be preferred and they should never be flushed or poured down the drain.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has a list of places where anyone can take medicine back (see link on the page to find a list of local places) and also there are "take back" events organized every now and then by the sheriff.

In Brevard County, Walgreens offers free medication disposal service (no liquid, syringes or inhalers) available to the public year-round. The two locations listed as offering that service are on Wickham and Eau Gallie and in Cocoa Beach

The sheriff’s office also takes medication back at certain locations. You can get a list of locations and what they accept at

Walmart has available a pouch, called Deterra pouch (, for disposal in the regular trash. At Walmart that pouch is currently sold for $3.98. You can also find them in a 3-pack option on - small, medium, and large.

If those are not an option, one should follow the mix/seal/dispose rule described in the guidelines and on the Walgreens spring cleaning your medicine cabinet page.

Prescription Bottles

For prescription bottles, remove label with personal info. Check if your local pharmacy will take them back OR take them directly to SPCA Brevard (for reuse with medicine for adopted animals) or a clinic or animal rescue place OR ship them directly to rescue missions like Matthew 25: Ministries or World Medical Mission. Some shelters or centers, like the South Brevard Sharing Center, may accept them as well - they use those bottles to fill up with shampoo or detergent to distribute to their clients.

You may also drop them off at Recycle Brevard - we will make them available in our Reuse Room for projects and take them to SPCA/Sharing Center when we have volume.

The DRS Community Center in Satellite Beach has now a bucket to collect empty prescription bottles and they are an alternative drop-off location for Recycle Brevard. If you live in that area, you may drop off your empty prescription bottles at their facility and we will be collecting from them.

Other types of medicine bottles, like vitamins, we can have in our Reuse Room or collect for TerraCycle. For TerraCycle, we can only accept specific brands of vitamins and supplements in their recycling programs.

Another option to avoid sending those bottles to the landfill is to reuse them at home in fun and useful ways. You can find dozens of different ways to repurpose those bottles - some quite ingenious!

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