I just learned something important about how the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) now suggests we get rid of our old prescription drugs at home. While in the past I've seen recommendations to flush them down the toilet, this is no longer advised, unless the patient information on the packaging tells you to do so.
As I'm sure we've all now heard, too many flushed drugs have -- or could -- build up and contaminate the water supply.
These days they also advise against just tossing them in the trash, since they could still be found and used.
So now the EPA suggests mixing the pills in with an “undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds,” putting that in a container or sealable bag, and tossing it.
Then, you should peel off or cover up any personal information on a prescription bottle and also throw that away. (Although in our community, one of the pharmacies has a recycling program, where you bring back your old pill bottles and they grind them up into plastic "dust" which can be recycled.
(So that's what I've been doing for about a year now -- thought I still try to remove the label and trash it before I return the empty bottles.)
Apparently there are a small number of very dangerous drugs that the Food and Drug Administration actually does advise be flushed directly down the toilet, which can be found here.
(These drugs are so uncommon that only flushing these should not impact the water. )
Currently, legislation regarding prescription drugs bars organizations such as pharmacies from collecting unused drugs for proper disposal, but various government agencies are working to modify this.
That way, instead of waiting, you could just give your unused prescriptions back to the same pharmacy you got them from in the first place.