National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day
March 20th marks the first day of spring. With it comes tidings of new life, warmer weather, longer days and last but not least, National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day!
Chances are, if you open up your medicine cabinet, you'll find some old prescription bottles or maybe some leftover medication that "might come in handy someday." Expired medications may cause more harm than you realize. Here's some handy tips on cleaning out your medicine closet:
- Check the dates. Examine everything in your medicine cabinet, including ointments, supplements and vitamins. Discard any item that is beyond the expiration date. Many medications lose their effectiveness after the expiration date. Discard any prescription medications if they more than a year old.
- Discard any items that have changed color, smell or taste. This includes any colors that have faded, because they may have been exposed to too much light. Store medications up out of the reach of small children and store in an area that doesn't allow sunlight. The bathroom isn't always the best place to store medication. The temperature and humidity changes that take place while the shower is running can lower the potency of your medication Consider a drawer in your dresser or a lock box in your closet.
- Properly discard medications. Because of the potential harm to the environment, it is not recommended to simply throw out medication or flush them down the toilet. Here's what to do:
- Crush or pour pills and capsules in a sealable bag. If there are solid medications, add some water so they can dissolve.
- Fill the sealable bag with unappetizing or unappealing materials that will soak up any liquids such as; kitty litter, coffee grounds, saw dust, or any material that mixes well and makes it unappealing for children or animals to eat.
- Remove any identifying information on the prescription bottle (like the label with privacy information), clean and recycle.
To Drop-off at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Columbia Missouri:
1313 Lakeview Drive (near the power plant, off the Business Loop)
Open: 1st and 3rd Saturdays (8:00am-noon), April through November
For additional information call the City of Columbia Solid Waste Program.
Solid Waste Contact
City of Columbia Utilities
Solid Waste Manager