The environmental hazards of expired medicine
We explain the hazards of expired medicine and what you should do with this potentially dangerous substance.
What do you do with medicine that has expired? Throw it in the rubbish bin? Flush it down the toilet? Well it’s scary to hear medicine can actually get into our soil and poison it, creating an environmental hazard. Flushing medicine also presents an environmental hazard as certain chemicals derived from medication have been found in water supplies.
In South Africa it is actually against the law to dispose of expired medicines by flushing them away. So, if we can't throw away expired medicine and we can't flush them, what can we do?
Your best option is to return the medicine to your local pharmacist. Pharmacies, including the big chains, take back expired medicines that are in turn collected by medical-waste companies that dispose of them in a responsible manner, usually by burning.