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Medicines - Disposal

Medicines - Disposal

Unused or unwanted medicines can be taken to your local pharmacy, even if you didn't purchase the item from them in the first place

The RUM (Return Unwanted Medicines) Project is a pharmaceutical industry initiative set up to facilitate the safe return of medications to your local pharmacy to ensure their safe and responsible disposal.

Local hospitals will also often accept medicines back, particularly controlled medications.

Medicines and tablets are not recyclable, but must never be disposed of in household waste, tipped down the drain, or flushed away.

Most medicine bottles – glass or plastic, are recyclable and can go into your council recycle bin or once properly cleaned, can be safely repurposed.

It doesn't matter if you tip all tablets from a bottle in together and return them to the pharmacy as the tablets and medicines returned are put into a specific RUM bin which is taken to a EPA accredited high temperature incineration facility where the sealed RUM bin is destroyed.

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Science Notes

Medicines in the home can be a safety risk and a source of confusion for young children and the elderly. Out of date medicines can be ineffective at best and harmful at worst.

Don't tip medicines down the drain or into your toilet. Sewage treatment systems are unable to adequately remove drugs from our waterways. Medicines poured down the drain or into sewerage will invariably wind up back in our drinking water system, or contaminate landfill sites. Also, wildlife may consume undissolved pills or tablets to fatal or harmful effect.

Related Tip

Never change the bottle or container that medicines were supplied in. If a container breaks and you must transfer contents, make sure the new container is clearly labelled. Never put medicines into a container that could be confused with lollies or any other edible or drinkable item.