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!

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

  1. 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??


    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


      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.


        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

        2. If I ever have tricky labels, I’ve found filling the bottle with really hot water will loosen the glue enough to pull it off, usually in one piece. You may have to refill it 2 or 3 times, depending how “stuck” the label is


        1. That’s a great question. I know a lot of the organizations that are accepting them, will happily take them from anywhere. Let me see if I can find a place for you!


        2. Carol:
          I promise I’m still looking. I have heard that some pet places need bottles, I wonder if you could call your animal shelters and see if they need any (in the meantime).


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


    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!


  3. 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.


    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.


    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!


  4. 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!


  5. 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!


    1. That is very true: coffee grounds or kitty litter are suggested. If you have used needles and your medical company won’t set to pick them up, call your fire department. They can tell you where a drop off will be.


    1. They send the bottles to 3rd world countries, where doctors have to hand out.some meds that.they may receive in big bottles. They are used to give to patients so they will not spoil or disengrate.


    2. That’s a great question. Clinics and hospitals in poor areas are often given pills in huge bottles: maybe 100 of them. When they prescribe 10 pills to someone, where do the pills go? Remember many people have walked many, miles to get to the clinic so they don’t want to risk dropping or damaging such precious cargo.

      Plus, afterwards, they use the contains in a 100 different ways: to store things: a seed starter, the list goes on…


  6. After examine a number of of the weblog posts on your website now, and I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website listing and shall be checking again soon. Pls check out my website as nicely and let me know what you think.


  7. I am a member of American Legion Auxiliary in McCloud, California and we are saving used pill bottles to donate. However, we have had difficulty in finding someone to take them. Is your company one that will accept many bottles so they can be used again? Please advise.


    1. Hi Bobbie, The place I originally posted received so many bottles they shut down. I now found a new place (none of these are my companies to be clear) and they’ve been requesting them for months and haven’t asked us (or anyone) to stop sending them. 🙂


    2. Hi Bobbie,
      It looks like the Internet snatched my answer away as I hit send (sigh 😉 The first place I listed was so filled with response, they needed a break. The place that’s on the site now (neither are my companies btw) has been up for awhile and has yet to say they don’t need anymore!


      1. Just checking if a legit company and all it will cost is postage to mail it??? Another company wanted us to put a dime, nichel or pennies in each bottle. We are the only Auxiliary in Siskiyou County now. Please respond as soon as you can so we can get started.

        Bobbie Zahara Minear
        Secretary Cheula92


Please Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s