According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamins and minerals help with growth and repair of tissues and cells. You can get most of your vitamins from foods, especially fresh vegetables and fruits, but you may need vitamin supplements for health conditions or to make up what is lacking in your diet. If vitamins reach their expiration date before you can use them, consider ways to dispose of them.
Grind up your old vitamins in a coffee grinder and add them to compost. If you or someone you know uses compost for gardening, extra vitamins can enrich the soil. According to the Mayo Clinic, expired vitamins lose potency. Potency may remain the same for small traces of minerals. The soil benefits from more minerals such as magnesium.
If you have house plants, sprinkle crushed vitamins in the pot. Your plant will especially benefit from added minerals.
Flush your expired vitamins down the toilet. According to herbal pharmacist and naturopathic doctor David J. Foreman, R.Ph., N.D., you can flush expired vitamins down the toilet. Flushing vitamins will not causing harm to your septic system. Allow the vitamins to dissolve before flushing. Some of the minerals may end up back into water systems that are connected to a municipal source. These minerals could end up at the bottom of a holding pond or back in the ground if any sewer water is filtered and then used in other ways. Flush them in small quantities at a time. Recycle your plastic vitamin containers.
Throw expired vitamins in the trash. This is the most wasteful way of getting rid of vitamins because they will most likely end up in a landfill, and it will take them a long time to break down and feed soil. The plastic bottle takes more time than the vitamins to break down.
If you do throw your vitamins away in the trash, be sure that children do not have access to the trash. If a child ingests a whole bottle of expired vitamins, there is the potential for liver damage. Vitamins and iron can be fatal in high doses even when the potency has been compromised. You have no way of knowing how potent the vitamins are even when they are expired. Some minerals and certain vitamins may hold their potency longer than others.