Environmental Protection

KYDEP's Outreach Aims to Clean Up Pharmaceutical Disposal

The state agency released a guidance document and an online learning module this month that cover available collection programs and appropriate disposal methods.

Bidding to ensure that Kentuckians properly dispose of household pharmaceuticals, rather than flushing them or otherwise disposing of them in ways that could harm the environment or the public, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection issued a guidance document and an online learning module this month that cover available collection programs and appropriate disposal methods.

The module covers collection programs, landfill disposal, incineration in approved hazardous waste or solid waste incinerators, and why pharmaceuticals should never be flushed or rinsed down a sink – because they can harm aquatic life and end up in the public's drinking water.

"Household pharmaceuticals, whether prescription or over-the-counter (OTC), that are left accessible in homes or in recoverable forms in the trash, become susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. When a medication is no longer needed, has expired or otherwise becomes a waste, there are specific programs for disposal and recommendations for making pharmaceuticals unrecoverable and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner," the agency noted on its Naturally Connected blog Oct. 2. "The primary reason for household drug collection programs is to prevent exposure of potentially harmful chemicals to humans and the environment. Although households are exempt from many hazardous waste regulations, it does not mean that the wastes are nonhazardous. In fact, many can be quite harmful."

State residents can visit odcp.ky.gov and select "Prescription Drug Drop Box Sites" to find drop box locations and additional resources for medication drop box locations.

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