Blister packs of different coloured medications

How do you dispose of old prescription medicines?

If you have expired or unwanted medicines lurking in the back of your cupboards, it is really important to dispose of them correctly. Here’s why and how.

April 15, 2021
Blister packs of different coloured medications

Old and unwanted medicines around the home are a household hazard and can be dangerous if they are taken when they are out of date, not prescribed for you, or within reach of children.  

Don’t bin or flush!

Getting rid of unwanted or out-of-date medicines properly is important.  

  • Don’t flush medicines down the toilet. Water treatment facilities can’t treat all chemicals in waste-water, resulting in contamination of waterways.
  • Don’t pour medicines down the sink. Household medicines contain highly soluble chemicals which can harm aquatic life if they get into the water system.  
  • Don’t throw medicines into the rubbish bin as they will end up in landfill.  

Return Unwanted Medicines (the RUM Project)

Your local community pharmacy provides a free and convenient way to dispose of your unwanted medicines responsibly through the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project.  

You can return them to any community pharmacy - they do not need to be taken back to the pharmacy from which they were purchased. You can easily return prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbal or complementary supplements, gels, liquids and creams.  

What happens to them?

The returned medicines are then disposed of safely by high-temperature incineration, in accordance with regulatory requirements. They are never reused.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia

Back arrow white