How to Dispose of Vitamins and Supplements
Flushing or discarding expired vitamins could increase chemical runoff into our water supplies and increase chances that children or animals find them, potentially endangering themselves by eating them. The Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration advise against this practice as it poses health hazards to both human and animal consumers alike.
Instead, remove the pills from their bottles and mix them with something unappetizing such as coffee grounds or cat litter to create an unpleasant odor. Seal this mixture in a plastic bag before disposing it.
1. Take them to a drug drop-off center
Many cities and towns provide Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) collection sites where individuals can bring expired vitamins, supplements, medications and drugs for disposal. If no local drop-off center exists, many drug stores and pharmacies also accept unwanted medicines for disposal according to FDA reports. Residents can return any unwanted vitamins to where they were purchased if available.
Expired vitamins and supplements thrown away carelessly pose both a health threat to pets, children and neighbors who might come in contact with them as well as environmental pollution. Chemicals from some medications can leach into groundwater supply sources to pollute lakes, rivers, streams and oceans nearby and endanger aquatic ecosystems in nearby waterways.
People typically dispose of vitamins and other over-the-counter medications by flushing or throwing them in the trash, which is both illegal and can lead to serious health and environmental effects. Flushing medications away through sink or toilet is particularly risky as this could contaminate surface water as well as groundwater sources – potentially harming fish populations as well as aquatic creatures – according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
If you decide to flush medications, it is a good idea to consult the FDA’s list of safe drugs before doing so. A better alternative would be taking unused pills directly to a pharmacy that offers permanent drug collection sites or joining one-day community drug takeback events.
According to the EPA, it’s wise to combine liquid vitamins and supplements with another substance like cat litter or used coffee grounds before placing them into your garbage. This helps break them down more effectively while making them less attractive to animals that might be rooting through your waste bins. When done, place these mixed vitamins into a plastic bag before throwing away.
Residents unable to donate unwanted vitamins and supplements may recycle them by placing them in a compost pile or heap; the Environmental Protection Agency warns them against including medical waste such as needles, lancets or syringes in this method of recycling.
2. Mix them with another substance
Environmental and Drug Administration officials advise mixing vitamins and supplements with another substance like coffee grounds, cat litter or leftover food to minimize their chance of being discovered by small children or pets rummaging through trash cans and consumed at potentially toxic amounts by children or animals. It also reduces their chances of ending up in landfills or waterways – simply store this mixture in an airtight bag, can or container before disposing of.
Vitamins and other dietary supplements don’t actually go bad, but over time their potency diminishes, which is why many products carry an expiration or best-by date on them. If your supplement has passed this point, it won’t help you become healthier or feel better.
When you take vitamins or supplements, they travel through your digestive system and absorb any bioavailable nutrients – meaning they can be readily absorbed and utilized by your body – that are taken up. Any non-bioavailable nutrients are broken down and expelled while bioavailable ones are either stored within tissues for future use or eliminated through waste products.
However, absorption can be adversely impacted by various factors, including how you store your vitamins. Storing them in direct sunlight or the refrigerator may hasten their decomposition rate; so for best results store them in a cool, dry location like a cupboard.
If you want to save money when purchasing new vitamins, consider donating any unused supplements you have to a local pharmacy or health care facility. Donating expired vitamins will get rid of them while giving back to the community at large.
Even though vitamins and supplements don’t technically spoil, they may become moldy or smelly and unusable, making them inedible. Curiose children or animals could find them and consume them, potentially becoming very sick or even dying, Kaiser Permanente cautions. To avoid this happening, read your storage instructions; usually included is storage recommendations as well as their expiration dates.
3. Dig them up
Even when done with good intentions, tossing expired vitamins and supplements in the trash is an adulting fail. According to FDA recommendations, such items could potentially contaminate local water supplies, put children, pets and even strangers digging through trash at risk of accidentally ingestion, leading to illness or even death.
Instead of tossing out expired vitamins and supplements in your garbage, try mixing them with something like used coffee grounds or cat litter instead. Seal this mixture up in a bag or container before disposing it with regular trash collection; don’t flush them down the toilet as this could lead to water contamination.
If a drug drop-off center isn’t an option, composting your vitamins and supplements could be the ideal way to reduce waste while adding vital nutrients back into the soil. Just make sure your supplements are out before trash day so animals or unintended people don’t consume them!
4. Bury them
Where drug drop-off programs do not exist, burying vitamins and supplements may be the only effective means of disposing of them. This option should be utilized with great caution; heavy metal-containing supplements could leach into soil over time and cause significant environmental harm.
If you opt to bury expired vitamins and supplements, it is recommended that they first be mixed with coffee grounds or kitty litter before being sealed in an airtight container for burial. This will help prevent their nutrients from leaching into groundwater supplies; you should also ensure you bury bottles far from sources of water contamination as this could potentially compromise their integrity.
Consider recycling your old vitamins and supplements by donating them to charitable organizations that offer nutrition product recycling programs. This can provide vital nutrition to communities that don’t have access to it otherwise, while still fulfilling any instructions or warnings on their labels so as to ensure proper handling or storage.
While expired vitamins are safe to take and do not rot quickly, their potency gradually declines over time. Therefore, most manufacturers place a date on their packaging that indicates when vitamins and supplements will begin losing effectiveness; although this date cannot provide an exact timeline of when products will become unsuitable to take. It provides a good general rule to follow and avoid spending money on products which no longer work effectively.
Remembering to dispose of expired vitamins and supplements safely is also key – this can put children and pets at risk of accidentally ingestion, as well as contributing to landfill overcrowding and polluting the environment.