Return Unwanted Medicines

Getting rid of unwanted or out-of-date medicines properly is important. It has been estimated that more than 500 tonnes of medicines find their way into waterways and landfill every year after Australians dispose of them irresponsibly.

Many medicines deteriorate with time, and this results in changes to their chemical composition. These changes can make the medicines less effective or, in some cases, potentially harmful and toxic if they are used after their expiry date.

But most people hate to waste anything and a consequence of that is that many of us have old and unwanted medicines lying in the back of cupboards.  

However, disposing of old or unwanted medicines should be done with care.

For those of us who do get rid of old medicines, all too often we do so in a potentially harmful way.

Getting rid of unwanted medicines has for too long been achieved by simply throwing them in the garbage or flushing them down the sink or toilet.

Both these methods have dangers and studies have shown even medicines disposed of in landfill have leached back into the food chain via water or fertilisers made from land fill.

The only safe way to dispose of these unwanted medicines is through the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) scheme. Participating community pharmacies have special bins where consumers can dispose of their unwanted medicines.

As a result, the RUM Project provides the safest, easiest and most environmentally appropriate way to dispose of unwanted and out-of-date medicines. It makes it possible to return all household medicines to any pharmacy for free and to ensure safe collection and disposal.

Make sure to read the labels on your medicines and check the expiry dates. Remove them from your home, and return them to your local community pharmacy, where your pharmacist will put them in a secure bin for collection and safe disposal.

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