Study: 98% of Wisconsin pharmaceutical waste improperly disposed

Source: Waste & Recycling

Wisconsin pharmaceuticals take-back programs are successful in collecting only 2% of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications, according to a new study by the Product Stewardship Institute and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

The other 98% is frequently flushed, thrown in the trash or left in cupboards, solutions that can create environmental hazards or cause the drugs to fall into the wrong hands.

An estimated one-third of the more than 13 million pounds of pharmaceuticals sold in Wisconsin each year goes unused, the study said. Communities throughout Wisconsin have implemented a variety of voluntary drug take-back programs, but those programs face difficulties such as high costs and low public awareness.