Letters to the Editor

Safely dispose of medicines: Crush, don't flush

One of the many reasons not to flush medicines down the drain or throw them out with the trash is to prevent the chemicals from decomposing in water and soil.

Our local wastewater treatment plants are not equipped to remove contaminants from medicines. Also, pharmaceuticals thrown out with regular garbage can leach out of landfills and this leachate may not be adequately treated. Chemical pollution from these sources passes on to wildlife and humans that consume that water; these chemicals may destroy important bacteria that are needed to help purify soils and water.

The National Association of Counties adopted a resolution on Sept. 28 in support of a national Safe and Convenient Medicine Return Program that would not rely on government funding. Until such a program is available in San Juan County, please do not flush medications down the toilet or into the sink.

CRUSH … DON’T FLUSH: Please crush your medicines and mix them with cat litter or used coffee grounds; place this mixture into a container with a tight-fitting lid, and place into the trash.

Helen Venada
Waste Reduction and Hazardous Waste coordinator
San Juan County Solid Waste Division

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