To flush, or not to flush?

by Betty on July 12, 2013

At a recent Better World Betty event, we were asked about the best way to dispose of medications that are expired or no longer in use. While even the FDA has been known to advise flushing them, a 2012 Rivanna Watershed Snapshot by the Rivanna River Basin Commission found that, “…nearly 70 percent of the area’s waterways are failing to meet standards set by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.” The poor water quality can be attributed to a variety of causes, but it is important that we do not contribute to it by introducing concentrated medications into the water stream. Fortunately, many local pharmacies have made disposing of medications easy for you by partnering with Sharps Medication Disposal Program!

Photo from Photo from


Here are three easy steps to get rid of your medications without flushing them:

1. Purchase your pre-paid Sharps envelope for just $4.00

You can fill the envelope with up to four small bottles of medication. To find a local pharmacy where you can purchase an envelope, refer to this chart.

Pharmacy Address Phone Number
CVS Store #1556 1137 Emmett Street 434-293-9151
CVS Store #4656 1417 25 University Avenue 434-244-4028
CVS Store #1551 1341 Long Street 434-296-0156
CVS Store #67 208 East Main Street 434-293-6052
CVS Store #1555 1133 5th Street SW 434-979-1441
CVS Store #1554 3420 Seminole Trail 434-978-7990
Harris Teeter 159 Community Street (434) 872-0009
Walgreens Pharmacy 3489 Seminole Trail (434) 964-1082

2. Gather your non-controlled medications

Unfortunately, medications that are controlled substances cannot be sent via Sharps envelope. To make sure your medications are not considered controlled substances, check out this list (Click the photo to view the whole list).

If your medications are on this list, you can dispose of them at any National Take Back Prescription Day event, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The next national event will be held in October, and you can check this website for updates.


If your medications are not on this list, simply collect them and put them into your envelope!

3. Send your medications

Once you have collected and packaged your medications, you can mail your pre-paid envelope to Sharp. You can also give yourself a pat on the back because you have prevented drugs from entering waterways, while also protecting your family from expired or unneeded medications!

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