How to Dispose of Inhaler Pharmaceuticals

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Inhaler disposal methods vary by location.
Inhaler disposal methods vary by location. (Image: puff times 4 image by paul mitchell from Fotolia.com)

Once those inhaler pharmaceuticals expire, it's time to throw them away. Leaving expired medicine of any kind around the house is not safe. But how you get rid of the spent or expired inhaler depends on the chemicals in your inhaler and your town's disposal policy. There's no universal disposal method for this type of medication, especially since inhalers are pressurized and some may explode if incinerated. Once you've gotten the right information, disposing of the inhaler is easy.

Review the label on your inhaler first, advises the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Older inhalers may contain chlorofluorocarbons (an environmental pollutant), while newer ones are more environmentally friendly.

Call your town's waste department to ask someone how to dispose of inhalers properly if you can't find the label. The FDA notes that you may be asked to recycle, throw away or take inhaler pharmaceuticals to a hazardous waste facility, depending on where you live and what type of inhaler you have.

Follow the disposal procedure recommended for your town and your type of inhaler. If you're throwing the inhaler in a trash bin, wrap it in a plastic bag along with food scraps or coffee grounds to discourage children from picking it out of the trash.

Tips & Warnings

  • Go through your medicine cabinet regularly and dispose of old inhalers and other pharmaceuticals as needed.

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