October 2022 - Pills: BC has a number of amazing product stewardship programs including one for medication. Initiated by the pharmaceutical and consumer health products industries, the BC Medications Return Program exists to help the public properly dispose of unused, expired or mysterious (ie missing labels or in questionable condition) health products, for free.
Expired medications are considered hazardous waste. Traces of pharmaceuticals are found in soil and water and are now recognized as contaminants of emerging environmental concern. Concentration levels may be low but also high enough to have adverse effects on the environment. Effects that build up over time.
Drugs flushed down the toilet enter the waste water treatment system which is not designed to filter out the complex chemicals that make up today’s medications. Contaminated water negatively effects aquatic organisms, fish and other wildlife. Aquatic life is swimming in a cocktail of antidepressants, amphetamines, birth control, and antihistamines. Re-search shows that these compounds alter organisms and put ecosystems, drinking water, and human health at risk.
Throwing medication in the garbage also has negative effects. Leachate, the rainwater that percolates through landfills and collects at the bottom, has been shown to contain anti-depressants, antibiotics, steroids, hormones, heart and asthma medications and painkillers. The rise of drug-resistant bacteria is a global problem that threatens to undermine the usefulness of critical antibiotics. Researchers have found that antibiotics flowing into streams via wastewater are giving rise to drug-resistant ‘superbugs’. This is not good news.
If you have a septic field on Lasqueti you might be tempted to flush your old meds but anything that goes down the drain can end up in the water table and in local streams. All streams lead to the ocean.
The best way to responsibly deal with your leftover or unwanted medications is to return them to a participating pharmacy. All prescription and non-prescription medications, health products, vitamin and mineral supplements, as well as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal creams, inhalers and patches are accepted. For oral dosage pills remove them from their original packaging (containers are recyclable, just black out any personal labels and take to the recycling depot) and pour them into a clear bag. Creams, liquids and powders stay in their packaging. Once your un-wanted medications are in the care of the pharmacy they’ll be sent to a facility for certified incineration.
Needles and sharps like syringes can also be brought to participating pharmacies for safe disposal (call in advance to be sure).
It’s important to keep medications out of the hands of children and others who might use them inappropriately as well as out of the soil and water. Unfortunately, there is no current system that includes pet medications. If you have leftovers, your best bet is to return them to the veterinarian.
Not all waste is created equal. Medications may be small in size, but powerful in harmful effects. Think before you flush or toss seemingly innocent packs of pills or even vitamins. It’s worth the time to do the re-sponsible thing and deliver these to a participating pharmacy.
Trash Removal System: The 2nd Wednesday of every month is trash removal day at False Bay barge ramp. 10:00 am until the barge is full. October 12th is the next trash removal date. Any changes due to weather will be posted on the email list, and FB Lasqueti Hotwire. No construction materials, renovation or demolition waste, prohibited waste, organics, recyclable material or stewardship materials are permitted. $5 per bag, $25 per average truckload. Mattresses and boxsprings $15 each. Please call Mark if you have any questions. 8601 or 250 240 9886
Recycling Depot: Fall/Winter Hours Oct 1st-Mar 30th
Mon 10 am - 2 pm, Thursdays 1 - 5 pm
Closed on Statutory Holidays. All recycling is monitored. Please bring it CLEAN and DRY and SORTED.
Free Store: Fall/Winter Hours Oct 1st-Mar 30th
Monday 10 am – 2 pm and Thursday 1 - 5 pm
Please respect the signs. Drop donations during open hours so they can be quarantined. Outstanding items only, i.e. clean, usable clothing and household items. Please, NO food, garbage, recycling, TV’s, soft foam, batteries, electrical devices, mattresses or hazardous materials, ie: chemicals, fluorescent light tubes, prescription/non-prescription drugs, or pills in general. There are recycling programs on Vancouver Island for many of these materials.
Recycle BC Website: www.recyclebc.ca/what-can-i-recycle
Return-It Beverage Depot open 24/7 Front left of Free Store. Open 24/7.
Front left of the Free Store. No refundable glass (beer, wine, hard liquor) bottles, please take these to the nearest Return-It Beverage depot yourself. Yes to aluminum beer, cider, pop cans, coconut water cans, boxed wine cartons (leave them intact) and tetra juice packs, including (rinsed) milk and milk substitute containers. Please leave the caps on and push the straws in and do not crush containers. Labels can be left on.
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions for me and the qRD Let’s Talk Trash team, please get in touch. Jennyv@lasqueti.ca or 8601