If you are like me, we are at the time of year when I like to clean out cabinets and closets, when I am changing my clothing out for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. I like to clean and store the heavy sweaters and jackets and change out  my closet  with the linens, khakis and light colored sweaters for the new seasons. In addition to doing that, I like to clean out my pantry, fridge and medicine cabinets to purge the supplies and foodstuffs that have old dates on them.

The old dated food can go in the trash can, or in the compost pile out in my garden. But, what do you do with an old bottle of Exedrin or cough medicines or old expired prescriptions? Some of this can be thrown out in the trash but in doing so, certain precautions need to be taken when doing so.

According the FDA, (Food and Drug Administration) do not flush old medicines down the toilet! Take advantage of any community “drug take-back” programs that allow citizens to bring unused or dated drug items to a centralized location for disposal.  At your local pharmacy, you can buy bags to mail certain expired drug items to a disposal site. The bags are pre-stamped and pre-addressed and cost a few dollars to buy. There are some prescriptions that are not allowed and the insert in the bag is very clear how to return the dated drugs.

To dispose of drug items in the trash, be sure to remove them from their original packaging and mix the contents with an undesirable substance, such as old coffee grounds or used kitty litter, so that they are not recognizable. Put them in a sealed bag to prevent the contents from leaking or breaking out of the bag.

To protect others and our environment, such as drinking water, take care when disposing of old medications and drug items.