What should you do with out-dated or unwanted vitamins and other dietary supplements?
By Nurse Mark
We sometimes are asked how to safely disposed of out-dated or unwanted vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other dietary supplements.
That’s a good question – since most people know that prescription drugs should never be flushed down the toilet or into our sewers or septic systems and should not be allowed to find their way into our landfills. We have enough trouble as it is with the drugs and hormones that find their way into the environment after being taken by people and livestock…
So, what to do about old or unwanted vitamins? Are they dangerous to our environment too?
In a word, no.
While many vitamins, such as Vitamin C, can oxidize with time and exposure to air and heat and many herbs will lose their potency over time they do not become “dangerous.”
Let’s remember that these are natural substances – not synthetic unknown-in-nature chemical creations of Big Pharma.
Most vitamin supplements can be thought of as being “concentrated nutrients” and they are generally the sorts of things that we would like to be obtaining in our diets from good healthy food but are not. They occur naturally in our environment – though not in the amounts we might like these days!
Minerals are even easier – they come from Mother Earth and can be safely returned to Mother Earth.
Herbs and other plant products are given to us by nature and can likewise be returned to nature.
Some “authorities” recommend taking unwanted supplements and grinding them up with a coffee grinder and then mixing them with coffee grounds (to make them unappealing to animals) and then disposing of them in the trash. Others suggest dissolving them in water and then pouring them down a toilet or into the sewer system.
We think that’s wasteful, and a lot of other people do too.
Many people add these unwanted supplements to their compost or their gardens – here is a story written by an 11 year old boy who details his success with turning unwanted vitamins into plant food – yes, that’s right, this enterprising young man created fertilizer from supplements and we invite you to read his report, published by Mother Earth News in 1989:
Vitamins for Vegetables – An Experiment in Homemade Fertilizer
In a self-designed science project, this 11-year-old author and gardener uses vitamins as fertilizer and plant food, with outstanding results
Folks, Robert Williams III is now 36 years old – Let’s hope this bright young man lived up to the promise of his experiment and article and is enjoying a distinguished career working for the good guys!
So, don’t be afraid to return your unwanted or outdated vitamins, minerals, and other natural supplements to nature. If you don’t have a garden or a compost pile to use them in you surely know a friend or relative with a “green thumb” that does.
Your garden won’t care that they are out-dated!
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