How To Recycle Pill Bottle

Jul. 12, 2021

According to Statista, the number of retail prescriptions in the United States in 2019 was 4.38 billion. Now, imagine if all 4.38 billion pill bottles were recycled-they probably weren’t, but imagine it. The bottles used to fill these prescriptions are usually made of plastic and are at least partially recyclable. However, most people do not know how to recycle pill bottles, or even that they can be recycled in the first place. Fortunately, let's fix it!

Are the pill bottles recyclable?

The pill bottles are indeed recyclable. As long as certain conditions are met, they can be placed in the recycling bin on the side of the road. It must also be pointed out that not all municipalities use pill bottles as part of plastic recycling. A good rule of thumb is to call the health department in your city and ask if they accept it. You can also indicate whether they accept them through curbside pickup or dropoff.

Other bottles may be made of different plastics, although most of these plastics are accepted by municipal recycling programs. However, it’s okay to check with your municipality first to see if they will collect this number on the roadside.

Pill bottle

How to recycle the pill bottle:

According to FDA regulations, old pills should not be flushed into the toilet or poured into the sewer unless it appears on the FDA's flushing list. This is because people are worried about the discovery of surface drugs on surface water. Instead, the FDA recommends throwing them into household waste.

The FDA once again pointed out that most drugs can be thrown away and mixed with trash without causing any damage to the environment. If you are unwilling to throw your old meds in the trash, especially those controlled pills, you can contact your pharmacy. Many pharmacies have medication adjustment plans for unused or expired medications.


Once the pill bottle is completely empty, peel off or wipe off the label in some way. It is better to peel it off because it ensures that when the plastic reaches the recycling plant, no excess paper enters the recycling mechanism. In addition, we recommend checking the website of your city to see if the bottle caps near you are recyclable. Some municipalities like to cover it, others prefer you throw the caps in the bin separate from the bottles, and others ask that you throw bottle caps in the trash before recycling bottles.

Where can I recycle the pill bottle?

There are many different organizations that accept old pill bottles. If you have contacted your pharmacy about the drug settlement, you may want to ask if they can also take back pill bottles. In this way, you can kill two birds with one stone. Of course, you can also donate them.

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