Environmental Risks of Improper Drug Disposal

With more people leaning on prescription medication to fix their diseases and ailments, it becomes an issue when they don’t know how to properly dispose of it. During 2015-2016, it was proven that just under half of the population of America had used prescription drugs in the past 30 days.

Many people tend to just forget about their prescription medication which leaves it available for children to find accidentally. However, others will casually throw away their drugs or flush them. The result of this can have an awful impact on the environment. This is why we must understand how to correctly dispose of unused medicines and the importance behind it.



Disruption of our ecosystem

When disposed of incorrectly, medication can cause a terrible disruption of our ecosystem. When thrown away or simply flushed, your medicine doesn’t end there, in fact, it travels into our ecosystem and does some irreversible damage. These drugs end up in our coastal ecosystems and all of those nasty little chemicals that once helped us are hurting others.

The medication begins to dissolve and seep out dangerous chemicals which soon end up in our waterways. This then leads to our beautiful aquatic animals becoming unwell and being impacted negatively. That is why it is so important to dispose of your medication correctly.

For example, when exposed to beta-blockers, Shellfish can face advanced negative side effects like stunted growth, lack of cellular integrity, and disrupted endocrine systems. The bottom line is that your improperly disposed of medication can continue to cause negative disruption of our ecosystem. It is time to properly dispose of your medication and we can tell you exactly how to do that.

Drug traces in our drinking water

The water from our taps at home isn’t as refreshing as drinking from a fresh spring, and studies have proved that it isn’t as pure either. In saying that, the water that is provided through our taps is generally clean and safe, but is it really as clean as we are led to believe?

Studies have always shown that there are harmful substances in our drinking water, but there are also some more hidden nasties that we just aren’t told about. Experts in water quality are now becoming concerned about the fact that there may be another form of water pollution arising. That form of pollution being from chemicals from medications and prescription drugs that are getting into our waterways due to improper disposal.


It is highly important to dispose of your medicines safely or we may face more pollution in the years to come.

How to safely dispose of medicines

Now we have reached the most important part, how to safely dispose of your medication. Firstly, it is always important to mix your substances with another entirely unpalatable substance (coffee grounds, cat litter, etc) so that on the off chance that someone finds them, they cannot be used.

Next, you will need to place the mixture of your drugs and unpalatable substance into a safe and sealed plastic bag.  Then all you need to do is throw it in the trash. When disposing of your empty pill bottle or medication packaging, you must scratch off all the information on the front to make it unreadable.

The way you choose to dispose of your medication could potentially save many animals’ lives and also the lives of children that may accidentally find your medication. It’s time to make a positive impact on our environment, it isn’t hard to properly dispose of your medication.

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com

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