How to Dispose of Old Vitamins

assortment of pills and capsules
A collection of different pills. (Image: avarand/iStock/Getty Images)

The Environmental Protection Agency does not recommend flushing expired vitamins or medications down the toilet. When vitamins, supplements and medications are flushed down the toilet, they pass through waste-water treatment plants and may enter the water supply of rivers and lakes. In addition to the steps below, there are state and community collection programs available to help properly dispose of vitamins and medications. Contact your local public health department to find out what options may be available in your area.

Step 1

Remove the expired vitamins from their containers.

Step 2

Pour ½ cup of lukewarm tap water into a cup.

Step 3

Add the expired vitamins to the cup of water, allowing them to dissolve. The amount of time it will take for the vitamins to dissolve depends on the size and makeup of the vitamins.

Step 4

Put an undesirable substance such as used coffee grounds, sawdust or cat litter in a bag, and then add the dissolved vitamin mixture. An undesirable substance is anything the vitamins can mix with and not be appealing to people or animals. By mixing your vitamins with a substance like this, it becomes less likely that anyone will come in contact with the pills.

Step 5

Seal the bag tightly, and dispose of it in a trash bag.

Step 6

Take out the trash as close to garbage pickup time as possible to reduce the chance of others coming into contact with the vitamin mixture.

Things You'll Need

  • Expired vitamins

  • Warm water

  • Cup

  • Plastic bag

  • Used coffee grounds, sawdust or cat litter

  • Trash bag

Tip

If the vitamins are in capsule form and will not dissolve in warm water, you can break them apart and add the contents to the undesirable substance instead. Liquid vitamins may also be added in this manner.

Many vitamin containers are recyclable. After you dispose of your vitamins, check to see if you can recycle the bottle.

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