How to Dispose of Liquid Meds

Drug abuse is a social vice; one way you can unconsciously contribute to its spread is to not dispose of your medications properly. Anybody can pick up a medication lying around – liquid med inclusive, expired or not – and misuse it without proper guidance.

Therefore, the proper disposal of medications should be encouraged to save children, adults, and society from the dangers of improper disposal of prescriptions.

This post will show you how to safely dispose of liquid meds and some things you should know in disposing of them to keep safe.

How To Properly Dispose Of Liquid Meds

Liquid Meds Disposal

Disposing of liquid meds may seem easier than disposing of pills, but it is equally dangerous if you do not do it right. Take the steps below to properly dispose of liquid meds and save your environment from possible environmental hazards.

Participate In A Drug Take-back Program

One of the best ways to dispose of liquid meds is to participate in a drug take-back program. A drug take-back program lets you return unneeded drugs for proper disposal, and it is a safe and legal way of disposing of old prescription drugs and expired medications.

You can participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-back Day, held in different communities in the United States. Some local governments and communities also hold drug take-back programs you can participate in if the national program is not suitable for you.

In either case, contact your local law enforcement agency to find where to drop off your liquid meds for the take-back program. You can also check the DEA diversion control unit for a licensed collector near you. 

Dispose Of At A Doctor’s Office

Another safe method for disposing of liquid meds is to take them back to your doctor’s office. The doctor is a licensed professional and will have access to several safe disposal methods.

Everyone cannot participate in take-back programs. For instance, you may not find a drop-off location close to you or need to dispose of the meds as soon as possible and before the next take-back program. In such cases, a doctor’s office is a reliable alternative.

Most doctors’ offices have drop-boxes, pharmaceutical waste disposal services, or reverse distributors, and you can easily take advantage of these for free or at no cost.

In addition, it is advisable to always return chemotherapy drugs to the doctor that prescribed them for proper disposal.

Take It To A Healthcare Center

Taking liquid meds to a healthcare center is another safe disposal method you can consider, and it applies to other medical-related wastes like needles, sharps containers, etc.

Healthcare centers like hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and nursing homes regularly deal with medical waste disposal. Leaving your liquid meds with them for disposal is easy since they only need to get rid of them alongside other waste they usually handle.

Visit a Healthcare center in your community to know if they take medical waste from private individuals and also learn about their guidelines and payment policy. Some hospitals or health care facilities may be willing to dispose of your liquid meds at a charge which is understandable since they may also pay to dispose of the bulk waste.

Call A Police Department

Another safe way to dispose of your liquid meds is to take them to a police department nearby. While a police department is not a health facility like hospitals, they may have drop-boxes where anyone can put expired or unused medications, including liquid meds.

You should first call a police department you want to choose to ask if they offer medical waste drop-off services. It would be best if you also inquired about their location and guidelines – whether or not there are restrictions on dropping some kinds of medication.

Take the liquid med to the location they gave you and drop it off carefully according to their guidelines. Also, you should confirm if they take liquid meds before taking them there.

Mix With Household Waste

You can consider thrashing your liquid meds If all other options do not suit you, but you need to learn how to do it right so you won’t be breaking the law.

To do this, take the liquid med from its container and mix it with household materials you need to dispose of in the trash bin. Some materials you can mix with liquid meds are coffee groundscat litter, ashes, old mattresses, etc. Put the mixture in a container or plastic bag before sending it into your regular garbage bin. 

Mixing the liquid med with other household wastes is safe because it ensures other people or pets do not ingest it. It also makes it unappealing to someone who may intentionally search garbage bins for drugs. But, you should check for specific disposal instructions on the medication before thrashing it.

Flush Down The Toilet

You can dispose of liquid meds by flushing them down the toilet, but only if there is an instruction to do so on its label or patient information leaflet or if you can find it on the flush list recommended by the FDA.

However, it is best to dispose of a liquid med in the garbage bin if there is no specific instruction to flush it and you cannot find it on the FDA’s flush list.

Several blogs or bodies may warn against flushing liquid meds down the toilet or drain, but it is not harmful to drugs with specific instructions to flush them or those on the flush list. 

Thrash It

You can still dispose of liquid meds in the garbage bin without mixing them with household materials but with extra precautions.

First, do not leave the drug in your garbage for days to ensure people cannot pick or abuse it before the collection. It is best to store it safely and send it to the garbage bin a few hours before collection.

Remove every personal information on the liquid med or cross it off with a permanent marker. Then, add water to the container significantly if the med is too thick.

Next, shake the container and pour the liquid into a disposable bag. Seal the bag properly and ensure it cannot leak, then throw it in the garbage bin when it is time for collection. You can also dispose of the bottle in the garbage bin.

Things You Should Note When Disposing Of Liquid Meds

Liquid Medication

Here are some essential things to ensure when disposing of liquid meds. 

Ensure No One Can Reuse It

A medical prescription that is safe for you may be dangerous for other people. Therefore, you should ensure that no other person or pet can reuse a liquid med you no longer need.

You can guard against improper reuse of liquid meds in the following ways:

  • Avoid keeping liquid meds within reach of children or pets.
  • Pour liquid meds out of their container before disposing of them.
  • Do not pour liquid meds directly into the garbage.

Remove Personal Information

It is advisable to remove personal information from liquid meds before disposing of them. You can either remove and shred the label or cross out personal information with a permanent marker.

Do Not Use Expired Meds

It can be tempting to store liquid meds at home for reuse, especially if they are expensive. While it may be a way to save cost and avoid wastage, it becomes unsafe if the medication exceeds its expiration date.


Improper disposal of liquid meds and other prescriptions is both dangerous and unlawful. Still, you can follow the recommendations in this post to ensure safety and abide by the law.

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