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How to Donate Empty Medicine Bottles

Empty medicine bottles can quickly accumulate and clutter up a person's home. The temptation is to throw them away, but a number of recycling opportunities are possible. Current studies by the Department of Consumer Protection (DEP) and the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) are exploring the feasibility of recycling medicine bottles. Recycling old medicine bottles is a much more eco-friendly way to deal with the bottles and it helps to support community-based programs for the economically disadvantaged as well as for other groups.Take the time to find recycling opportunities in your community.

Soak the empty bottles in warm soapy water. Peel off the prescription label 1. This protects your private medical information. Scrub off the old glue from the bottle with an abrasive pad. Scrub the inside and outside of the bottles with a small brush. Clean the lids as well. Rinse the bottles and lids with fresh water and allow them to air dry.

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Contact local pharmacies and ask about medicine bottle recycling programs and policies. Community wellness centers, such as Elephant Pharm, are exploring policies and procedures for recycling medicine bottles. The CVS pharmacy chain is also currently developing guidelines for medicine bottle recycling programs.

Donate the empty bottles to local veterinarians and animal shelters. Veterinarian clinics and animal shelters reuse the bottles for animal prescriptions. Inform them that the bottle have been clean and sanitized.

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Donate the bottles to homeless shelters and free clinics. Some homeless shelters and free clinics also reuse the empty bottles for medications for patients. Inform them that the bottles have been cleaned and sanitized.

Donate the empty bottles to community-based arts and crafts groups and organizations 1. Empty medicine bottles and containers may be used for a variety of purposes such as storing paint, storing beads and making art objects. Community-based arts programs often struggle with limited funding and budget issues, so donated materials are often appreciated.


Always call ahead of time to find out about the specific details and policies for donating empty medicine bottles. Some will be happy to accept the empty bottles but others may not. Ask about policies concerning plastic, glass and the sizes of the bottles.