|Me disposing meds in the MedReturn box at our local police station|
The other reason it is a good idea to dispose of these medications this way is to keep these chemicals out of the waste water treatment plants which cannot process them. For instance, when birth control pills containing synthetic estrogen or other hormones enter the waste water stream they can have significant adverse effects on aquatic life. According to this NPR article, it has caused some species of male fish to become feminized, even causing them to produce eggs in their testes. The issue can be severe enough to cause a collapse of an entire fish population resulting in near extinction.
From a sustainability standpoint is up to us to take full responsibility for all aspects of our waste, particularly to protect the environment from harmful side effects of these chemicals entering our streams, rivers and lakes.