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How to Dispose of Medications Safely

Do you have unused medications and wonder how to get rid of them?

Reduce and Recycle

There are increasingly more options for disposing of medicines in the Twin Cities. Many counties and local law enforcement agencies have installed drop boxes or are organizing collection events to give residents the opportunity to properly and safely dispose of unwanted, unused and expired medicines. Programs typically accept all medicines from households, including prescription, over-the-counter and pet medicines.

For up-to-date county by county information on recycling and disposal, visit the Rethink Recycling website.


Minnesota SMARxT DISPOSAL in a new campaign to spread the word about proper disposal of unused medications. 

Contrary to previous advice, flushing medications or pouring them down the drain is not recommended. They can harm our waterways. Instead, follow this three easy steps to safely dispose of the medications in your household trash:

  • Pour medication into a sealable bag. If medication is a solid, add water to dissolve. Remove all personal information from container, if needed.
  • Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (anything to make medication less appealing to eat) to the plastic bag.
  • Seal the plastic bag completely and throw it in the trash.

As an alternative, many counties hold prescription drug take back events (Hennepin and Carver), or are establishing permanent drop-off spots (Scott and Ramsey) where medications are collected and disposed. Check your county website if you'd like to find out more about these options. To learn more about the campaign, visit



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