Help, My Life, Tips & Tricks

Empty Pill Bottles Desperately Needed (Take your meds & help others!)

Pill bottles: those translucent orange soldiers that pile up all around us… in our drawers, cabinets, shelves… sometimes I wonder, if I had saved every empty pill bottle since I got sick could I build a small house by now?
Mountains of Pill Bottles
One thing I have always hated the most about being sick, is how you often need more help than you can give back. I’d see those specials on TV and think: I want to build a Habitat for Humanity house or dig wells in Africa with Oprah! (this might be an insomnia induced thought, but the general sentiment still stands).

Okay, so I can’t dig a hole in the blazing African sun. There are still a lot of ways to help others. Like this, this is a project with an idea so simple, it’s brilliant. I’ve tried this myself so I can vouch for how easy it is to do and how good it feels to pass on something that is trash to you, but will be a treasure to others…

Imagine you’ve walked miles to a remote village hospital to receive any form of medical care you can find.  You are given the medication you desperately needed and now you have to start the journey back home (often many miles).  You don’t shake the pill bottle maraca as you walk because there is no pill bottle, (there was barely medicine).  The pills bought in impoverished areas are often bought in huge quantities, in large jars, and doled out (if you’re lucky) wrapped in a tiny scrap of newspaper.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal at first. But the more I thought about it the more I realized: beyond the thought of just getting the medication home, what keeps the meds from swelling up from moisture by day 5? What keeps kids from getting into them? Or their getting lost? Those orange bottles that seem to accumulate so easily for us, can actually do more than you think for others…


How to Help:

Step 1:
When you finish your meds, save the bottle!  This includes bottles you might receive over the counter like for Advil, Motrin, vitamin bottles, supplements – as long as the bottles aren’t too (Large bottles just cost too much to ship).

Step 2:
Follow the instructions for preparing the bottles

Step 3:
Throw the bottles in a box or manila envelope, when you have enough of them, mail it off!

The bottles are not wasted in anyway. Once the meds are finished, the families often use the bottles in 100 other ways (just think of how helpful it could be to have a container with a lid that seals). And if the bottle you send isn’t able to be used, it will be recycled.

The New Organization is called:
Matthew 25: Ministries
11060 Kenwood Road
Cincinnati, OH 45242

Note: I have nothing to do with this organization. They state they are an international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization helping the poorest of the poor, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally regardless of race, creed or political persuasion across the US and worldwide. They were cited on many sites throughout my research.

Help Animals! You can also try contacting your local animal shelter, vet or animal organization, a lot of them are happy to receive donated pill bottles!

631 thoughts on “Empty Pill Bottles Desperately Needed (Take your meds & help others!)”

  1. Thankyou for this info. I am a committed recycler but no one in my area takes medicine bottles. I’ve saved them thinking. ..something will come up. What a wonderful way to reuse these. What a wonderful way to tell someone on the other side of the world that you care. BRAVO!

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    1. Glad to see the post form 2019 I was trying to find out if this program is still accepting donations. I have a lot of empty medicine bottles

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you so much for your kind words! I was so touched so many people wanted to do something to help other people however they can. The original program no longer accepts pill bottles but I’ve rewritten the blog featuring another program that does. If you still want to donate your bottles, feel free to try them out!

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  2. Oh, no!! Where should I send my pill bottles! All labels are removed and people give me theirs!! Is there an alternative place to send pill bottles??

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    1. Matthew 25 is a ministry that still accepts empty and clean medicine bottles. The address is:

      Matthew 25: Ministries
      11060 Kenwood Road
      Cincinnati, OH 45242

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      1. Thanks for the great info. Do you have a trick for getting those labels off? Soaking in washing soda for a few hours has worked for me.

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        1. Someone on another site recommended putting them in the freezer (didn’t say for how long…overnight, maybe?) and then removing the label immediately upon taking them out of the freezer.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. UPDATE: Malawi Project ended their pill container program in favor of famine relief on December 31, 2015 (from their website).

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    1. You are right. I found another organization that would love the bottles and rewrote the blog to include all the latest information. Thank you for leaving the comment and helping to update it at a time when i wasn’t able to!

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  4. Considering that we are told not to throw old/unwanted pills in the toilet or wash our empty pill bottles due to the medications getting into the watershed and causing issues like hormones causing hermaphrodite, or sterile, fish…I’m not so sure this is a good idea unless you have a way around that.

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    1. You make a great point about what to do with unused pills, definitely do not flush them.
      You have several options about how to safely get rid of them.
      First put the meds in a sealable plastic bag.
      – You can take them to CVS (the pharmacy chain). They have over 1,000 locations that will accept the unused medications and dispose of them properly
      – Take medications to an authorized collection location near where you live (hit up Google to find one near you)
      – Or place them in a mail-back envelope for delivery to an authorized destruction location.
      Thanks for a great question! I hope this helps.

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    1. I wasn’t the one collecting the bottles, I was just reporting on an organization that was doing it. They stopped, so I found another one that would love to have them. I rewrote the blog and all the info is included in there!
      Thanks

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  5. The original organization listed in my post was no longer accepting medicine bottles. I received such an incredible flood of support from people who really wanted to continue to donate that I did some research and found another place that would LOVE to have your bottles!

    I rewrote the blog and all the newest information is included!

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  6. To dispose of unused medications, throw them into the garbage with something good wet, like coffee grounds, or something equally “ soupy”. Never in the disposal or commode!

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