London Drugs pharmacists have long recognized the importance of properly disposing of medications, needles and other medicine-related supplies. There are programs in place at London Drugs to cut down on environmental waste through the safe recycling of medication-related materials:
- Medication Returns Program: We accept expired or unused prescription or over-the-counter medications for safe disposal. These medications are safely incinerated, preventing them from entering landfills, sewers and the environment at large. We request that, whenever possible, you remove drugs from their packaging and place them in a clear plastic bag, and recycle the packaging appropriately, before bringing medications to the pharmacy for disposal. Medications in blister packs and forms of liquid and cream medications can also be included in the plastic bag. Please be sure to remove any personal identification.
- Recycling of vials, bottles and lids: If you are unable to recycle your lids, bottles and/or medication vials, or you prefer to return unused or expired medications in their original packaging, we will happily recycle them for you. Please be sure to remove personal information by taking off the label or by using a marker to black out personal information.
- Diabetic Needle Disposal Program: With the purchase of 100 BD syringes or pen needles, you will receive a certified biohazard needle disposal container free of charge. (If you are not buying needles, you may still purchase a container for a nominal charge.) Filled containers may be returned to a London Drugs pharmacy and we will dispose of the contents in a way that is safe for the public and the environment. Please note that these must be returned in the approved container to avoid potential harm to anyone handling the container.
Disposing of expired medication should be treated with caution as expired medication is considered hazardous waste. The best way to dispose of expired medication is to bring it directly to a London Drugs pharmacist who will then put it into the disposal safety container.
Taking expired medication can be harmful to your health while throwing out expired medication can be harmful to the environment. Properly disposing expired prescription drugs is important for a number of reasons, including the safety of your loved ones and the well-being of the environment. Keeping medicines around the house is not safe, especially if you have children/teenagers who could take the medicine by accident. Expired medications can be ineffective or even toxic. Prescription drugs, including over-the-counter medicines, can also be subject to reuse, misuse, theft and abuse. Flushing your medicines down the toilet or drain, or tossing them in the garbage, is not recommended. The rainwater that collects at the bottom of landfills has been shown to contain antidepressants, antibiotics, steroids, hormones, heart and asthma medications and painkillers.
It is important to dispose of any medication that is twelve months or older, remove any medication not in its original container, and remove duplicates of OTC medications where the older medication is rarely used. For more information about disposing of expired medications, please visit a pharmacist at your nearest London Drugs location or visit online at greendeal.ca/medication-disposal. For specific provincial information on medication return programs please visit the Health Steward site for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.