Producer Responsibility for Medicine

handful of pillsSecure medicine take-back is an important public safety strategy to reduce misuse and abuse of medicines.  Environmentally sound disposal prevents waste medicines from contributing to pharmaceutical pollution.
Every community in Washington State needs secure and convenient medicine drop-off sites to protect our families and our environment.

Learn About SHB 1047 – WA Secure Drug Take-Back Bill

Waste Medicine – The Problem

Medicine Return FAQs

Voluntary take-back programs are collecting unwanted household medicines at some police stations and a few pharmacies in Washington. But only some cities and towns have secure drop boxes at limited locations. Drop boxes are often only at law enforcement offices, rather than at more convenient pharmacies and hospital locations as now allowed under the DEA Rule for take-back of controlled substances. Other areas are only served by twice-a-year DEA-coordinated collection events that aren’t as convenient as ongoing drop-off sites. These programs are underfunded and are not meeting community needs.

medicine dropboxManufacturers of medicines are the ones that can cover take-back costs in their business models. Internalizing this product safety cost to provide dedicated program funding for more drop-off locations and better program promotion.

Drug manufacturers have provided safe medicine take-back at pharmacies in Canada (now in all provinces!), Mexico, France, Spain, and other countries for many years.  
And now drug companies are providing a convenient and secure medicine return program in King County, WA too!  Learn about MED-Project in King County!
Why not all of Washington State?

2017 WA State Secure Drug Take-back Bill

House Bill 1047 – the Secure Drug Take-Back bill - will create a convenient statewide drug take-back program for prescription and over-the-counter medicines that is established, financed, and coordinated by pharmaceutical manufacturers.  Zero Waste Washington is working with an amazing coalition of organizations to support passage of this legislation.

Learn About SHB 1047 – WA Secure Drug Take-Back Bill


Producer Responsibility for Medicines is catching on at the county level

The Boards of Health of four counties in Washington State have passed Secure Medicine Return Regulations. And more counties in Washington State are developing ordinances.  Medicine manufacturers have developed a program plan and installed secure drop boxes in King County.  Program launches are anticipated in Snohomish, Kitsap, and Pierce counties later in 2017.

MED-Project, representing 410 drug manufacturers, is providing more than
87 secure medicine drop boxes across King County. New program launched in January 2017!

Learn more about laws and proposal in these counties:

King County Manufacturer’s MED-Project Program Launched January 17th with more than 87 secure drop boxes in convenient locations!

Snohomish County

Kitsap County

Pierce County

A number of California counties have passed similar laws and the manufacturers' take-back programs are rolling out.

Get Involved

For individuals, sign up here to join our list to receive email updates about the WA drug take-back bill.

For organizations, join the coalition of supporting organizations by contacting: Heather Trim, email heather at zerowastewashington dot org

About Our Work on Secure Medicine Disposal

Zero Waste Washington has been working for more than 12 years to create safe medicine take-back programs: by developing and evaluating pilot take-back programs, by exploring options for waste reduction, and by advocating for pharmaceutical stewardship laws. We partner in this work with a wide range of organizations and agencies, including substance abuse professionals, health & medical associations, law enforcement, public health agencies, solid waste agencies, and water quality organizations.

Zero Waste Washington wants to see convenient, secure collection and disposal of household medicines in Washington funded by the drug producers. Drug producers can cover this product safety cost in their business models and provide dedicated funding for a convenient and well-promoted secure medicine return system. We are advocating for passage of comprehensive medicine take-back legislation at the state level, and supporting local Secure Medicine Return ordinances in WA counties.

Last Updated (Thursday, 20 July 2017 12:00)