What’s Up Doc? Looking after medications environmentally

This weekend I opened up the medicine cabinet and was amazed at how many expired medications were in there.

Pill bottleWhy have I been holding on to them for so long?

It was time for a major clean up.

However, medications — over-the-counter and prescription — shouldn’t go in the Garbage because they can negatively impact the leachate (the liquid that is generated inside the landfill).   And medications shouldn’t be poured down the drain or toilet because they’ll eventually make their way out to Lake Ontario or our groundwater — imagine the impact on our drinking water with all those medications (birth control, anti-depression, heart disease, blood pressure, etc.) floating around!

So, I brought my medications to my local pharmacy.  It was free to do, and the pharmacy will properly dispose of the medications.  Medications are sent to a landfill specifically designed to store hazardous waste.

Halton residents can also drop off medications at the Household Hazardous Waste Depot located at the Halton Waste Management Site.  It is free to do, but remember, the Depot can only accept household hazardous waste, not wastes from commercial or institutional locations.

If we all return our medications to our local pharmacy for safe disposal, we’ll be doing one small thing to protect our water and soil.

About John Watson

I'm a communicator, educator and project manager with a focus on environmental and public works issues. Previously, I was the Onboarding Director for ReCollect Systems, where I implemented digital communication products for municipalities and non-profits. For eight years, I was the Waste Diversion Educator Coordinator for Halton Region, where I implemented award winning communications and outreach programs.
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