How to Dispose of an Epipen?

If one of your epinephrine pens comes onto your radar, don’t panic.

Since they’re so common, people don’t think much about what to do with them. However, there are a few things you should do with your Epipen to make sure that it is disposed safely and legally.

So, how do you dispose of an epipen?

Epipens contain a life-saving drug in case of a severe allergic reaction.

However, it’s crucial to dispose of epipens properly because trace amounts of the medication can remain in the device even after it’s been used. Epipens should never be flushed down the toilet or thrown away with ordinary trash.

Instead, they should be disposed of at specialized facilities that accept medical devices. There, the epinephrine will be destroyed in a safe manner.

How to Dispose of an Epipen?

Give the EpiPen to a First Responder

If you have a used EpiPen on your person but aren’t at risk of having an allergic reaction, you can use it to administer epinephrine to a loved one or friend.

In fact, police are now trained to administer epinephrine to patients. Some police departments even have EpiPens on hand to give to people at the scene of an acute allergy attack.

Medical sharps and other types of medical waste can be turned in at the medical waste facility.

If you have hazardous waste such as syringes or needles, be sure to properly dispose of them as well to prevent anyone from accidentally getting them.

Sometimes, people receive used epipens from family or friends who no longer need them.

However, you should always ensure that your old epipens are out of the reach of children, even if they haven’t been used.

Many hospitals accept epipens for proper disposal. Get in touch with the healthcare facility nearest you to inquire if they have a recycling program for EpiPens.

Contact the FDA’s MedReturn Program

The Food and Drug Administration has a MedReturn program, which accepts unwanted or expired medical products. If you are unable to give your EpiPen to a hospital or other facility, the FDA will accept it for free.

If you aren’t sure what type of disposal programs are available in your area, contact the local health department to find out your options.

Consider Reverse Distribution Programs

Check to see whether you belong to a health plan that participates in a reverse distribution program.

If so, they may accept your unused and expired medications for safe disposal.

Please Contact Your Local Sanitation Department

A municipal sanitation agency may point you to available local programs for disposing of medical devices safely.

Medical trash is often regulated and very dangerous to human health. Simple regular trash is not an option when it comes to disposing of unwanted or expired medicines.

If you’re planning to travel with your EpiPen, remember to keep it on hand at all times and avoid accidental injury or contamination.

As a result, you will help prevent allergic reactions in yourself and those around you.

Contact a Local Pharmacy

Several pharmacies now allow the authorized return of medication for disposal.

If a local pharmacy does accept prescription or over-the-counter medications for disposal, they may do so at no cost. However, you should call ahead of time to confirm whether they accept containers that are opened or in their original sealed packaging and ask if they take medication in their original containers or prescription bottles.

You may inquire about their collection process too.

Contact your Healthcare Provider

Your healthcare provider’s or a neighboring hospital’s medical waste management department can help you find a facility that safely disposes of medical devices in your area.

MedReturn is a program run by the Food and Drug Administration that allows consumers to return expired or unwanted medications to a participating facility to be destroyed.

If you have an old or expired EpiPen, you should contact your local FDA field office to find out whether you can return it through the MedReturn program.

Replace the Epipen’s Protective Case

You must make certain that your Epipen is always in its protective case when not in use in order to prevent accidental use or injury to others and to avoid potential contamination of the product.

If the epinephrine auto-injector has previously been used, you should clean the outside of the device with an alcohol wipe prior to replacing the case to prevent contamination of the product.

How to Protect Landfills and Nearby Communities

If you throw away your used or expired EpiPen in the trash, its active ingredient (adrenaline) could pass through municipal landfill liners and contaminate soil and groundwater at surrounding locations.

By disposing of your EpiPen properly, you can protect local landfills and vulnerable populations from exposure to risky chemicals and substances.

Because medical waste is deemed hazardous, the disposal process itself is also highly regulated to prevent contamination of the water supply and to protect both the public and the environment from potential hazards.

Is Improper EpiPen Disposal Dangerous?

EpiPens, also known as epinephrine auto-injectors, are small devices that contain a cartridge of epinephrine to treat life-threatening allergic reactions.

These sharp needles are designed only to administer epinephrine to a person who is experiencing anaphylaxis.

These needles are obviously intended to inject medicine into a patient, so they may pose a safety risk if accidentally handled or used improperly.

Sharp needles and other medical items are classified as biohazardous waste and must be disposed of accordingly.

Do Not Be Afraid to Contact Health Services

If you are ever in a position where you are unsure what to do or have questions about your medical waste, you can contact your local health department for immediate assistance.

An EpiPen is a lifesaving medication that must be handled carefully at all times, so always be sure to keep yours in a protective case away from children during use and until it’s time to dispose of it.

The MedReturn program allows consumers to drop off expired or unwanted medications for free, so contact the FDA to see whether you may return an unused or partially used epi-pen for safe disposal.

How to Protect Minors from Medical Sharps

Many schools and children’s hospitals have EpiPens available for emergency situations.

Even if this is beneficial in ensuring the safety of young children who may experience an allergic reaction, it also increases the potential for unsafe handling and improper disposal of these potentially contaminated devices.

If a youngster obtains an expired or unused epi-pen from a doctor’s office or school clinic, they may become frightened by the needle and may attempt to remove it without an adult’s supervision.

Also Read: How to Dispose of a Blow-Up Mattress?


It is vital to the health and safety of your community to dispose of your unused, expired, or damaged epi-pens in a responsible manner in order to prevent possible contamination of the environment with hazardous chemicals.

Whether it’s an insulin injection or an epi-pen, safety must always be a primary concern when handling sharp medical devices.

When considering the impact on neighboring communities, it is also important to remember the importance of proper disposal and the significant impact that improper disposal of sharps can have on the environment.

Unused medication, expired medical aid, and used or defective medical equipment should be disposed of properly and should never be simply tossed in the trash.

Clinics and hospitals have appropriate disposal systems, but patients must take the initiative to dispose of their expired medicines properly as well.

While flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash may be convenient, the risks to public health and the environment must be considered as well.