Proper Prescription Drug Waste Disposal

California’s Alameda County has passed a rule that manufacturers of prescription drugs must offer and maintain a program to collect and properly dispose of unused medications.

This is the first such stewardship and disposal law in the United States to involve the pharmaceutical drug industry. All drug companies wishing to sell medicine in the county must fund and operate disposal programs for expired drugs. The proposal was passed by an unanimous vote. Plans from all manufacturers are due to the county by July 1 of 2013.

There are several different manufacturer responsibility laws operating in thirty-two states, these laws cover paint, florescent bulbs containing mercury, and electronics. This is the first law of its kind addressing the damage that unwanted pharmaceuticals can create when placed into a municipality’s common waste stream. County officials have said that residents and businesses in the county should not have to bear the burden of financing solutions to keep unwanted and unused prescription drugs out of the water and waste streams.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: We all know that flushing medication down the drain is a bad idea as it can contaminate our water sources. If your business is responsible for large quantities of prescriptions drugs, it may be time to work with your local government and enact a plan similar to that in Alameda County. It may help to save the environment and disposal costs!