In the past, the advice was to flush or pour extra or unwanted medicines down the drain. Today, there’s new advice for safe disposal of medicines, due to growing concerns about local waterways and ultimately our drinking water supply.
Water experts and federal officials strongly recommend disposing of over-the-counter and prescription medications with your regular trash. Arlington’s municipal solid waste is incinerated at the energy-from-waste facility so medications, when thrown away, will be incinerated.
How to Prepare for Disposal
- Remove unused or expired prescription drugs from the original container. Add water to melt the pills, then place them in an unattractive substance such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter and put them in your garbage.
- Ask your pharmacy if it accepts unused prescriptions as part of a drug take-back program that properly and safely disposes of medications.
- Drop off your mediciations at a designated location during one of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events.
- Some pharmacies offer medication disposal kiosks where you can easily and safely dispose of medications free of charge. Two nearby Walgreens pharmacies offer this service 24 hours a day, at 4300 Backlick Rd. in Annandale, and 6717 Richmond Hwy. in Alexandria.
Though there have been concerns about trace amounts of prescription medications found in drinking water, Arlington’s water supply is safe and meets Environmental Protection Agency standards. The Washington Aqueduct provides our drinking water, after being drawn from the Potomac River and treated. Regular sampling and testing ensure the water delivered to residents is safe and of the highest quality.