Limiting The Harmful Environmental Impact of Pharmaceutical Waste

December 12, 2022 | Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

The improper destruction of pharmaceuticals can lead to lasting damage to our environment. Discover how to keep our water and land safe by disposing of drugs properly.

Pharmaceuticals are designed to help people live longer, healthier lives, but when they are disposed of improperly, they can have the opposite effect.

Pharmaceutical waste often ends up discarded into our natural environment, where it contaminates water supplies and harms wildlife. This pollution is a growing problem through improper disposal of medications by patients and improper disposal by healthcare facilities.

In fact, nearly 60% of the water samples taken from the US in 2020 contained at least one pharmaceutical, according to the US Geological Survey. And with nearly 6.5 billion prescriptions filled each year in the US, it’s no wonder that this is becoming more of a pressing issue for communities and ecosystems across the globe.

So, how can individuals and medical facilities ensure that they are properly disposing of pharmaceuticals to limit their impact on the environment? Let’s take a look at how you should approach pharmaceutical waste disposal to mitigate pollution.

What are common mistakes people make when disposing of pharmaceuticals?

DEA registrants, such as hospitals and pharmacies, are required by law to follow drug disposal standards. Disposing of pharmaceuticals may seem like a simple task, but it’s important to do it properly to protect the environment and public safety.

1. Flushing medication down the toilet or sink

When pharmaceuticals are flushed down the drain, they end up in our waterways, where they contaminate the water supply and harm aquatic life.

2. Throwing medication in the trash

If medication is thrown in the trash, it may be picked through by people looking for drugs, and it can also end up in landfill which hurts the environment.

3. Giving unused medications to friends or family members

This may seem like a convenient or cost saving idea, but it’s important to remember that medications are prescribed for specific individuals based on their medical history and health condition. What works for one person may not work for another, and it could even be dangerous.

As you can imagine, even the best-intentioned people can make mistakes when disposing of pharmaceuticals. Here are some practices to ensure your medication disposal is safe and simple for the environment, your community, and your family.

What are the best practices for disposing of pharmaceuticals to protect the environment?

With billions of pharmaceuticals being produced each year, it’s important to dispose of them properly to protect the environment. Here are some best practices:

1. Look up a drug “Take-Back Event” in your area

If your pharmacy doesn’t offer a take-back program, you can also look for a “Take-Back Event” in your community. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) sponsors National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day every April when people can drop off their unwanted drugs at designated locations around the country.

This allows for the safe disposal of pharmaceuticals while also preventing them from being abused or ending up in the environment.

2. Utilize a drug disposal system

For businesses, municipal agencies, schools and medical facilities, you can implement your own drug disposal system on site. In your business or at your home, a pharmaceutical disposal system, such as Rx Destroyer, safely deactivates medications. This solution keeps unused medications out of our ground water and mitigates diversion.

Rx Destroyer products are explicitly designed for the disposal of pharmaceuticals and are safe to use without training. For at home use simply fill, shake, and dispose.

What are some other benefits of on-site drug disposal?

At Rx Destroyer, we understand that disposing of pharmaceutical waste can be a complicated and daunting task. That’s why we offer turnkey solutions that are customized to fit the needs of any facility type or home.

Keep Our Environment Safe with Rx Destroyer

We encourage you to explore our environmentally clean website if you want to learn more about how Rx Destroyer can help you with your pharmaceutical waste disposal needs.

Discover the variety of Rx Destroyer products available, learn about our commitment to the environment, and learn how to get started with our easy-to-use disposal solutions. Together, we can keep our waterways and landfills clean and our families safe.