Saturday, May 22, 2010

What To Do With Expired Medications (and Other Adventures)

Despite the leftover margarita glasses hanging around this morning, the mess cleanup was astonishingly quick and simple. After the ten minutes it took me to put the sticky glasses in the dishwasher, wipe down the counter and sink and put away the bottles that had been left out, I decided to really push the mess-envelope: I made waffles. I kept the mess maintained to one counter and regularly swiped it with a paper towel so that when it was all said and done, I sprayed the counter with some Windex to loosen up the stuff that had dried in the time it took me to cook two dozen waffles (!) and was pretty much done. Oh, and mom made some brownies right after I cleaned up the waffles. And the mess was a non-issue since it was cleaned up by the time the pan was in the oven.

Which is all to say that I can’t believe how easy this keeping the kitchen business is. I know I keep harping on this, but you have to understand that I am not a natural born cleaner. I like things clean, but I’m not terribly interested in doing it myself because it’s just too much danged work.

But it’s not, apparently.


Aside from keeping my kitchen clean despite all my best efforts to eff it up, I also got to something else that I’ve been wanting to take care of for some time now. Last weekend I cleaned out the medicine cabinets and removed tons of outdated meds. Pills, syrups, lotions, you name it. Vitamins, pain meds from dental work and post-natal-post-surgery experiences, cold meds, ointments for rashes, eye drops… The list could go on and on.

I was concerned because I didn’t know what to do with this big ol’ box of drugs. Flushing it was out of the question because that puts these narcotics directly into the ground water which ends up back in our drinking water eventually. Bad juju. Throwing them away made me nervous because I didn’t want someone to find them and use them in improper ways.

My school nurse friend finally told me what to do. She said that at the end of the school year they take all the left over meds that kids bring up there and then don’t take home and the put them in a big container with a lid. (She suggested a coffee canister, and I intended to take one home since I’ve got several in my supply closet. Best laid plans being what they are, though, I ended up using an old wipes container that had a lid.) Once all the meds are in the container, fill it with water to an inch or two above all the drugs. This sits, with its lid on, in a cabinet for several weeks. What you’re doing here is dissolving all those pills and things. After a few weeks, she said to bring in some kitty litter (presumably unused…) and dump it in to soak up the moisture. After stirring this around and letting it clump up, replace the lid, secure it and it’s ready to toss in the trash.

This is what she said the EPA told her and the other nurse to do, so that’s what I’m doing as well. It’s a load off my mind to have this taken care of (or to have started taking care of it, actually); I’ll be glad to finally have it all out of the house.

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