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What to tell your patients about medicine disposal?


Advice for communicating medicine disposal to patients

Have you ever been unsure what to tell your patients to do with expired and unwanted medicine? Good news! The state of Washington has opened its doors to MED-Project – a free, safe and easy product stewardship program for residents to dispose of old medication at local drop-off locations or using mail-back services. This is a great direction to point your patients to prevent pharmaceutical waste from ending up in the environment. Medicine should never be flushed down the toilet and should not be placed in the trash, recycling, or compost because it can contaminate ground water and lead to environmental harm.

Most drop off locations are at pharmacies, police stations and medical facilities. By using this site locator your patients can view a map of drop-off locations in Clark County.

All Washington residents can request prepaid mail-back services for expired or unwanted medicines for free. You can also receive item specific packaging for undamaged inhalers or pre-filled injectors that are still in their original containers. For free resources to inform patients, contact us!

Accepted Medicine

  • Any dosage of controlled, non-controlled or over the counter medication in its original container or sealed bag
  • Check the Clark County Recycling A-Z Guide for more info on what's accepted

Not Accepted

  • Herbal remedies, vitamins, supplements, cosmetics, other personal care products, medical devices, batteries, mercury-containing thermometers, sharps, illicit drugs, and pet pesticide products

What is product stewardship?

Product stewardship means that manufacturers that design, make, and sell consumer products bear some responsibility for the full lifecycle costs of the products, including disposal. Medicine manufacturers now need to create, fund, and operate medicine collection and disposal programs. Read more about it, here.

How is your medical facility managing its pharmaceutical waste?

The following health care facilities must follow all dangerous pharmaceutical waste rules:

  • Hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, dental clinics, veterinary clinics, pharmacies, long-term care facilities, ambulance services, outpatient surgery centers, medical clinics within larger facilities
  • Read the special requirements for managing dangerous waste pharmaceuticals law here 

State and federal law prohibits businesses from disposing of hazardous waste to the wastewater system. For help managing your business's dangerous waste pharmaceuticals, view this easy to read infographic or contact us at with any questions or for flyers with more information! 

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