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Disposing Pharmaceutical Waste at Home Dispose of medications and used needles in a way that is safer for the environment, your family and your community. Information about disposal of pharmaceutical waste at home in a way that is safe for the environment, your family and your community. Expired or unwanted medications have traditionally been disposed of by flushing them down the toilet. Though this method prevents accidental ingestion, it can pollute wastewater. Recent studies have found concentrations of medications in wastewater that may cause adverse effects in fish and aquatic wildlife. In addition, it is important to dispose of used needles properly to prevent an injury or disease transmission resulting from needle-sticks. Kaiser Permanente North Point Tower, Suite 1200 1001 Lakeside Avenue Cleveland, OH 44114 kp.org STEP 1: SAFELY PACKAGE WASTE MEDICATIONS: STEP 2: DISPOSE OF WASTE MEDICATIONS: WHAT ABOUT USED NEEDLES AND SYRINGES? 1.Keep the medication in the original container. • Black out the patient’s name to protect private information. To prevent waste medications and residues from polluting groundwater, surface wasters and marine sites, don’t flush medications down the toilet! Sewage treatment plants cannot remove medications from wastewater. Alternatively, waste medications can be disposed of in your garbage can. Ensure that waste medications are not disposed of in recycling bins. 2.Modify the medications to discourage consumption: • Add some water to solid medications to dissolve them. • Add salt, flour, spice or mustard to liquid medications to discourage consumption. • Wrap blister packs containing medications in multiple layers of duct tape. 3.Seal and Conceal • Tape the medication lid shut. • Wrap unused IV bags, ampoules, and vials with duct tape. • Place the medication container into a non-transparent container such as a small yogurt tub. The preferred method of disposal is to bring waste medications to a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection site. This will ensure the medications are incinerated and therefore removed from the environment. Some HHW collection sites in Ohio will accept medications. Locate and contact your local HHW site to find out if they will accept your waste medications: http://www.epa.state.oh.us/dsiwm/pages/ recycpro.html It is important to dispose of needles and syringes safely to prevent injury and disease transmission from needle-sticks. Used needles should never be placed loosely in the trash or flushed down the toilet. Consider purchasing a needledestruction device that renders needles safe for direct disposal in the trash. They can be found at drug stores or on-line. Ohio - EPA accepts used sharps at their community waste collection. As a last resort, sharps can be thrown in the trash if they are properly contained. Used needles should be placed point first into a purchased sharps container or a rigid laundry detergent bottle. Label the bottle, “Do Not Recycle - Household Sharps.” When the container is half full, seal the container and tape it shut before disposal.