I enjoy the process of clearing out and moving house because it’s refreshing and good for my mental health. Even for a low consumer like myself there’s always going to be items that become redundant as we move through the different stages of life and moving house provides an opportunity to make sure unwanted items end up in the right place. Medicines are no exception.
We all know that keeping unwanted and out of date medicines at home is a health hazard but astonishingly, I learnt that more than 500 tonnes of medicines end up in waterways and landfill every year because they are tipped down the sink or tossed into the garbage by consumers. Sewerage treatment plants can’t remove all the chemicals put down the sink and landfill sites are often exposed allowing chemicals to move through the environment and potentially cause harm. Just think for a moment about the possible impacts of all those hormones, steroids, antibiotics and parasiticides we’re releasing into our soil and waterways. Fatalities have also occurred after people have accessed medicines discarded in household rubbish.
So what can we do?
The Australian Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing has funded the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project up until 30th June 2018, at which point a review will take place.
The Project allows us to return unwanted and out of date medicines to any pharmacy – anytime.
This is all we need to do…
Step 1 Gather up your out-of-date and unwanted medicines
Step 2 Take them to your local pharmacy
Step 3 Give them to your pharmacist for proper disposal, and…
Step 4 Tell your friends and relatives about the RUM Project so they can do the same.
The returned medicines are disposed of by high temperature incineration. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved this process.
Now we can make our homes a safer place, help safeguard our community and protect our environment. In addition, by returning our unwanted medicines we are providing valuable data which will be used to improve medicine distribution in the future.