Medicines & Needles
The information below is based on information found at the EPA's website and through guidelines published by the Office of National Drug Control Policy as of October 2009.
Traces of a number of pharmaceuticals are found in drinking water. This is in part because our bodies do not process our medicines in their entirety, and traces are excreted in our urine. Additionally, for a number of years, people were advised to flush their medicines down the toilet. Either entry of the drugs into the wastewater system may create problems, as many of these chemicals cannot be filtered through treatment.
On the other hand, when loosely placed in your garbage can, animals, children, and even other adults may gain access to medicine and become poisoned. Additionally, over time, loose medicines degrade into the landfill, through the ground and again into our ground water systems.
The City of New Braunfels does not have a permanent program that can accept medicine for preferred disposal, which is filtered incineration.
Steps to Dispose Unused Medicine
- Find a ridged plastic container with a screw on top. Laundry detergent bottles are good.
- Remove any and all identifying personal or prescription information from your medicines.
- Place unused pills and liquid medicines into the container.
- Fill the container with kitty litter,used coffee grounds or another substance that animals and scavengers would not find desirable.
- Seal the container, perhaps even gluing or duct taping the lid shut.
- Then and only then, place this container in your garbage; never place it in your recycle bin.
- Do not flush medicines.
- Do not place loose pills and liquids in your trash
New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) holds MedSafe events where residents care safely and properly dispose of unused pill medications at this event. For dates and event information, visit http://operationmedsafe.com/.
Needles (SHARPS), Syringes & Lancets
Do not flush needles down the toilet. It is not illegal to put your needles in the trash as long as you follow these instructions:
- Place needles in a rigid plastic container, such as a laundry detergent bottle.
- Pour plaster of paris inside container, which renders the needles useless to scavengers.
- Place a lid on the container and duct tape it shut. Mark the container "SHARPS" and place it in your trash; never place it in your recycle bin.
Click here to read a TCEQ flyer about disposals of SHARPS.
The preferred method of needle disposal is filtered incineration. This prevents blood-borne pathogens and medicines from entering the ground water system. There is no known local drop-off program for this service. However, such a service can be purchased and usually involves a mail-back program.