I'll recycle your pills right here!

As environmentally conscious consumers look to reduce waste, those little plastic bottles for prescription medication can present a problem. People who have a couple of regular prescriptions can soon find themselves with an expanding pile of pill bottles and no idea what to do with them.The simplest idea is to ask the pharmacist to reuse the old bottle for a refill of the same medication. If the pharmacy is unwilling, the next step is to check with the local curbside or municipal recycler. Pill bottles are usually marked No. 5, and not all recycling services can accept them. Some recycling companies refuse all medication containers, regardless of the type of plastic, because of the risk of contamination. If recycling is allowed, the bottles should be washed out and the sticker removed.

People often find creative ways to reuse the bottles, after a thorough cleaning and sanitizing. The bottles are just right for organizing loose change, fishing hooks, beads and other small items, but shouldn’t be used for food or candy.

Unused and expired medication must also be discarded properly. Many pharmacies allow consumers to drop off leftover medications for proper disposal. If that isn’t an option, the Food and Drug Administration recommends crushing pills in a zip-close plastic bag and adding water along with coffee grounds, sawdust or other contaminants before tossing it in the trash.

It only takes a few minutes to confirm the best way to recycle or reuse prescription bottles and to prevent old medication from getting into the wrong hands.

Find places to recycle your prescription drugs @