♦ Wastewater treatment facilities can’t properly filter pharmaceuticals that are flushed. Most drugs pass through treatment plants and into our surface, ground, and marine waters.
♦ Trash disposal is not secure– especially for narcotics and other highly addictive and dangerous drugs. Even if pills are crushed or adulterated before they’re thrown in the trash – which is a dangerous practice itself – the drugs retain their biological and chemical activity and can still get into the environment. Trash disposal simply puts the environmental problem of these persistent toxic chemicals onto future generations.
♦ Pets can be poisoned by medicines thrown in the trash. The Animal Poison Control Center handled nearly 35,000 cases of pet poisoning from prescription medications in 2017. (ASPCA)
♦ Toxic leftover medicines are household hazardous waste that should not be put into landfills. Two counties in Washington have local ordinances that do not allow residents to throw all or most medicines in the garbage.
♦ High-temperature incineration at properly permitted facilities is currently the safest disposal method for toxic medicines. That’s how the pharmaceutical industry disposes of their unwanted medicines, and it is the same method medicines collected by law enforcement (via Arkansas Prescription Drug Take Back Day and at Drop Boxes) use.