If you or a family member takes medication on a regular basis, empty prescription bottles can add up quickly. Make sure they don't end up in the landfill by recycling the bottles. This is a guide about recycling prescription bottles.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
Pharmacies are not allowed to reuse the bottles. Give them to the ASPCA, your vet or any free clinic in your area.
By Cisco's Mom from FL
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Here are questions related to Recycling Prescription Bottles.
Where can I recycle medication bottles? I live near Palm Springs, California.
Try contacting some of vet offices near your home. They can't be reused for people medicine, but vets can use them. My vet is very grateful for the bottles I bring them.
Does anyone know of missionary projects that are in need of used pill (medicine) bottles? Had heard that the Methodist Missionary project used them at one time. I would like to get a project started through my church if possible. If not, I have several to donate on my own.
By Marsha from Eskridge, KS
I get different sizes of prescription bottles and ask for the non child proof tops and when empty i use them to mix paints, divide kinds of buttons, small nails, small screws, seeds, dried herbs for teas (these I put in the door of the freezer) and all small objects I usually will misplace goes into a bottle and then placed in the room or place where I store the things that go with it. Even my router bits are kept safe in a large bottle or 2 because the South has lots of moisture and keeping it out is a chore in itself. Happy bottling and you can burn them too.
Any thoughts on recycling pill bottles in the Buffalo, NY area?
My mom recently gave me a bunch, and I put them to work in my sewing/crafts room. I put needles, bobbins, beads, plastic rings, wiggly eyes, etc. in mine. Was thinking about watching for an old spice rack at the thrift store to put them on.
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Any place to recycle prescription bottles. I can't stand to put them in the trash and then to the landfill, but no one in our area will take them. Can you help? J. C.
By Anna from Maine
Ask at all your local pharmacies, one here in town finally remembered that a local church has a mission in Haiti. They collect used prescription bottles to send there. In Haiti, the clinic has medications in enormous bottles, and they need smaller bottles to dispense into when they send the medicines home with a patient. I now save all my bottles for this church, removing all of the identifying stickers first, of course.
Here are a few other ways I use prescription bottles:
By Becki in Indiana
I applaud all your efforts here at trying to find a use for these, but in all honesty, these bottles can't cost more than a couple cents each. If third world countries need medicine bottles wouldn't it make sense to contribute a little money and let them buy them by the thousands direct from the manufacturer? It couldn't cost much and would be much much cheaper than sending multiple shipments of used ones and would also save the cost of cleaning them. I mean no disrespect to all the good intentions here, just thinking there's probably a much easier and more effective way to solve this problem. Also, if they are simply recycled with all your other plastics, they will end up being re-used, just not in their current form. Just my opinion.
Editor's Note: Unfortunately, most places will not take prescription bottles.
"Why can't prescription or vitamin bottles be recycled?" "Prescription and vitamin bottles go through a different manufacturing process and, as a result, do not have the same melting temperature as other plastic bottles. (You'll notice they are much, much harder than other narrow-necked bottles.) They have a different consistency at the same temperature (sometimes thinking of soup versus pudding is helpful), making them incompatible in a re-manufacturing process. It's the same reason plastic bottle tops can't be recycled, no matter their number." from http://www.ecocycle.org/faq/containers.cfm (04/17/2006)
By A Pragmatist
By Jacqueline T.
I just called my local Rite Aid and they do accept used medicine bottles. They said they have them shredded, so it sounds like they don't reuse them; they may or may not recycle them. Neither my local Walgreen's or CVS accepted used prescription bottles.
Also, I asked Rite Aid what I should do with old/expired medication. I was told to put them in the garbage disposal and run them. Some quick research on the internet suggests disposing them in the trash may be better, but to not make it easy for children to find and potentially consume. (01/19/2008)
If you throw away prescription bottles it'll either go into a landfill or get burned at a waste facility that burns municipal trash like the city of Long Beach, CA. When the plastic burns, they release dioxin which is known to cause cancer.
My city doesn't have a recycling program but I'm going to remove the paper label (as much as possible) and take it to a place that accepts plastics for recycling. (06/18/2008)