RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — If you missed National Drug Take Back Day, there are still ways to properly throw out expired or old medication.

The Virginia Poison Center recently shared its recommendations for how to dispose of unwanted medications. Before considering how to discard medications at home, however, check with the following places in your community to see if they have permanent drug disposal boxes:

  • Police departments
  • Pharmacies, including independent and chains
  • Fire stations
  • Hospitals
  • Municipal buildings

If you do not have access to a permanent drug disposal box in your community, the Center provides the following suggestions on how to throw out old medications at home:

1. Check the label of the medication for any disposal instructions and follow those instructions.

2. While flushing is not recommended as a disposal method in most cases, some medications need to be flushed if no take-back options are available.

3. If your medication does not have special instructions, such as flushing, and you do not have access to a drug disposal box, mix the medication with dirt, coffee grounds or cat litter. Put the mixture in a sealed bag, can or container, and throw it out in the trash. According to the Center, some retail pharmacies may offer a free powder product to be mixed with the medication so that it can be safely thrown out.

4. If you are disposing of needles and syringes, put them in a disposal container from a local pharmacy, medical supply company or your health care provider. If you cannot get an FDA-cleared container, the Center recommends using a heavy-duty plastic household container, such as a laundry detergent container. Then, ask your doctor or pharmacist about how to throw out the container in your area.

According to the Center, some medications may be donated to certain organizations, such as your local animal shelter, health department, relief agencies and religious institutions. For more details about how to donate your medications, or to get additional tips about proper disposal methods, visit here.