Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yesterday: Dealing with Drugs

If you read CKL's entry from yesterday, you already know how we spent our afternoon and evening. Yesterday morning was all about trash. A full Prius-load of trash. In less than an hour, however, we were done at the dump. Everything was gone except for two Ziplocs full of mostly empty bottles of expired or otherwise useless medicines.

A decade or so ago, doctors stopped telling me to flush expired and unwanted medicines down the toilet. Since I wasn't sure what to do with them, the easiest thing was just to throw them into a bin until further information was forthcoming. For my last few moves, my bin traveled with me, and I just kept tossing in the pill bottles.

This move I didn't want to waste any of our precious pod-space on a bunch of medicines that had either expired, were meant for an animal that I no longer had, or that would poison me if I actually took any of them. Time to deal with the bin.

It seemed likely that the City of Mountain View might have set something up for disposal of medications. When I called on April 11th, I learned that they did. March 10 was the City's medicines drop off day. This was unfortunate, but I was undaunted. I requested the name of someone I could call about my hazmat. The nice lady directed me to the Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste program.

The office was already closed, but the phone tree was more than happy to talk to me. It told me that, though I needed an appointment to drop off Household Hazardous Wastes, I could make the appointment online. I don't recall a mention of the URL, but Google and I were able to solve that problem. A minute or so later, I was online requesting my drop-off appointment.

Sadly, the next available appointment day was in the week after we left the Bay Area.

Plan B: check with pharmacies. Surely some of the ones I went to had a recycling program. I looked around Los Altos Drug when CKL and I picked up Bayla's medicines. I couldn't find a recycling bin. I went directly to a human on my next attempt, and phoned the Safeway pharmacy. The pharmacist told me that Safeway does not recycle drugs. The CostCo pharmacist told me that CostCo does recycle, but only if the prescription bottle came from CostCo. The pharmacist at the VA didn't answer the phone.

Plan C: have friends drop off the drugs. I played out the conversation in my head, "Hey! So, I know you spent most of you free time for the last week helping me pack for my move. H0w about you also drop off a couple of Ziplocs full of pills at the dump? You can make an appointment online."

Uh... no. Plan A needs a revisit.

Mail might work. While both the web site and phone message for the Santa Clara Household Hazardous Waste program refused to give an address, a person might be more forthcoming. He was. I hadn't even finished the first sentence of my hard luck story before the nice man with the County said, "Go to Leiter's at 1700 Park Ave, San Jose. They'll recycle for you."

Sure enough, they do. It's as easy as dropping a bunch of bottles into bin.

So, if you have some medicines that need to leave your house, remember Leiter's Pharmacy. They provide recycling as a service to the community and its water table. Heck, you might even want to buy something while you're there.

If they go out of business, you'll have to make an appointment with the County Household Hazardous Waste program. Or wait for the next year's community drop off day.


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