Managing Residential Pharmaceutical Waste

Residential Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

In Texas, most unused residential pharmaceuticals are flushed down a toilet (not recommended), disposed of in the garbage going to the landfill, or stored in the home (also not recommended).

Nationally, unused pharmaceuticals are disposed of through one of the following outlets:

  • community take-back event or permanent collection receptacle, 
  • mail back program,
  • incineration,
  • disposal in landfills, and
  • flushing down the drain only if specifically instructed to do so with certain medicines.

A community take-back program has multiple advantages, including promoting environmental consciousness, reducing drug misuse and abuse and encouraging multiple stakeholders to work together to solve a problem.

Find a take-back option near you

Residental Pharmaceutical Waste Collection Programs

H-GAC is encouraging local governments in our region to develop more pharmaceutical collection programs, including permanent collection receptacles and community take-back events. Local regulations will vary from community to community, but it is important to contact local law enforcement agencies, such as police, health department and regional Drug Enforcement Administration offices when planning a collection event.

In December 2010 the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality published a study on the available disposal methods for unused pharmaceuticals. The report provides disposal recommendations for consumers and health care providers in Texas.