When you have leftover pills or liquids in your medicine cabinet, we don’t recommend you flush them down the toilet.
What to do?
Instead of flushing pills or medication down the toilet, take them back to your pharmacy. Or, use one of the Seattle and King County take-back programs:
– See Takebackyourmeds.org for more information on how to safely dispose of unused and unwanted medications.
– See King County’s return program for unwanted medication.
Why Not Flush Them?
Our waste water systems were not designed to remove medications flushed down the toilet or washed down the drain. In fact, Seattle’s waste water systems were designed to dispose of and process waste water, human waste, and toilet paper. Anything else is problematic for your home’s waste lines and for Seattle’s waste water treatment plants.
When disposed of via your toilet or other home drains, medications are released into our water system. As you know, the water cycle is a vast but closed system. We drink the water. Fish eat what we put into the water. Then we eat the fish. You get the picture.
The practice of safely disposing of medicines and medications helps the public utilities waste water treatment plants, helps save our Puget Sound, helps save our fish, and ultimately, helps save us.