ERMAHGERD!! Extrer drergs!! (What to do with all those random extra pills you no longer need!)

Did you know that keeping those extra pain pills (or those antibiotics you ended up being allergic to, or those birth control pills you switched off of months ago) lying around isn’t exactly ideal? There are actually quite a few safety hazards related to unwanted/extra pharmaceuticals: drug abuse, poisoning, overdose, environmental problems…Plus you will likely want to clear out your medicine cabinet sooner or later, and may wonder the best way to dispose of these meds.

Ritalin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are some tips for safely ridding yourself of those pesky extra pills:

› DON’T FLUSH unless they are on this list from the FDA:

Swimming Fish





› Trash ’em? OK…BUT

  • First, make any leftover pills as unappealing as possible – shake them out of the bottle and mix them with gross trash like rotting food, old wet coffee grounds, and/or dirty kitty litter.
  • Be sure they are not in a trash receptacle that is accessible to kids, pets, or
    wildlife to avoid unintentional poisoning. Even something as simple as a few iron pills can be fatal to small children if accidentally ingested.
  • Protect yourself: remove any and all identifying info from the bottle – this includes anything with the patient’s name, phone number, address, etc. – prior to recycling it (if possible) or throwing it away.

Look who got stuck in the garbage can...

›  Best bet? Bring them to your pharmacy for proper disposal (Call them first – not all pharmacies have the ability to take back your old prescription/non-prescription meds).

  • Sometimes the pharmacy will want the label left on, and sometimes they will have you tear the label off before dropping them off.  To be on the safe side, leave all labels on until/unless you’re told otherwise.
  • You can bring them to Campus Health Pharmacy any time during business hours.
  • *Due to DEA regulations, Campus Health Pharmacy is unable to accept controlled substances – however, look for specific events throughout the year for take-back of these items!*

› Bestest bet? Don’t forget community “drug take back” events!

  • Keep an eye out for these events, which are often sponsored by the local police department, hospital, or pharmacy.  These offer great opportunities to gather up all those old tubes, bottles, vials, jars, and boxes of meds you don’t need any longer and get rid of them all for good.
  • See disposemymeds for an easy way to find these events in your neck of the woods.
  • Come find Campus Health during the move-out events around campus at the end of the spring semesters – we’ll be here to collect up any meds you find under that 3 month old pile of dirty laundry you finally had to pick up in order to pack.

Now, go forth and clean out that medicine cabinet! And stay tuned for more medication safety tips…

Oregon Drug Take Back Event - Sept. 2010

Creating a Happy Space (An Earth Day Post)

(FYI: This is an Earth Day Post, it might not seem like it, but wait for it, it’s coming!)

I recently went through the painful process of searching for an apartment. I knew exactly what I wanted. One bedroom, good light, clean, preferably with a porch. How challenging can that really be? Pretty challenging, apparently. For some reason, apartment after apartment just didn’t feel “right.” The space didn’t make me happy. I finally found a place that vibed with me. Regretfully, I am paying a little more for it. But heck, what’s a little more for happiness?

For me, my foray into apartment hunting drove home how  important space is for my mental health. Then, through the strange maze of circuitry in my brain I began thinking beyond just my personal space, but bigger. About how the environment as a whole impacts my mental state. Living in a clean environment definitely makes me a happier, more pleasant person. Look at these two pictures. Which one do you think would help you achieve peace of mind?

 Beach A?  
Or Beach B?

 With all that trash on Beach A, I know I would MUCH rather be on Beach B. My personal take-a-way from this is: If I want to spend time on beaches like Beach B, shouldn’t I be helping to create them? All that trash on Beach A had to come from somewhere. How much am I contributing to problems like this?

To answer these questions I turned to the trusty internet! There I found all sorts of information, but one resource in particular I think is worth sharing: the Global Footprint Network’s, Footprint Calculator. The Global Footprint Network is a nonprofit organization, “established to enable a sustainable future where all people have the opportunity to live satisfying lives within the means of one planet.” Their Footprint Calculator, helps individuals to determine what exactly their “footprint” is, i.e. how much of earth’s resources are consumed during their regular day to day activity. After answering a series of questions like “How often do you eat beef?” or “How much trash do you generate?” the calculator will tell you how many earths it would take if everyone on the planet live the same as you. (Mine was embarrassingly high and I refuse to share).

Never fear though, the calculator doesn’t simply give you information and set you on your way. is the site includes tons of information about how to reduce your footprint. Something as simple as taking the bus once a week or cutting meat from your diet (Meatless Monday anyone?) is a start!

That’s why this Earth Day (see it’s there), I’m pledging to redouble my efforts to be Earth friendly and reduce my own (embarrassingly) large footprint.

Fishy Business

I’ve been a vegetarian for six and a half years. I eat eggs and dairy so I’m not that strict, and a few times a year I eat fish. With most of the food I eat, I try to ensure that it comes from a local, sustainable or organic source. I can’t always afford to do this, but I definitely try to make an effort. And there are some really great resources out there if you are interested in eating sustainable seafood. Here are a few I use:

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch:
This group offers suggestions to businesses and individuals about what types of seafood to buy and eat. Many types of seafood are overfished and you can help improve the situation by making informed choices. Seafood Watch also has a free App too so you can look up information on the go.

Marine Stewardship Council
This group creates standards to encourage responsible and sustainable fishing practices. You’ll know that a product meets their standards if you see this blue label.

Core Sound Seafood
This group is a Community Supported Fishery (CSF). Perhaps you have heard of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)? This is where individuals buy a share in a farming operation and in exchange they receive a box of produce every week. It is the same idea with CSFs: individuals buy a share and in exchange they receive fresh fish every week from the North Carolina coast. A whole share can be a lot of food so many people get friends together to purchase one share. If you choose this option, it can be a great excuse to get together with friends and cook a meal!

Bike Commuting Made Fun!

The beginning of school is one of my favorite times of the year for many reasons: fresh starts, excellent potential and bike commuting. I notice when a new academic year begins, there are hundreds of people commuting to UNC by bicycle. It is so exciting for me to see so many people engaging in one of my favorite things! However, as we get further into the school year I start to notice that there are fewer and fewer bike commuters than started out in August and September. So here are some tips to keep bike commuting fun and easy. Continue reading

It’s not Easy Being Green

“It’s not easy being green.” – Kermit the Frog.

Kermit summarized my personal attempts at living a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s not easy, especially on a student’s budget. In fact at times, it seemed downright impossible. However, somehow our froggy friend managed to keep going green, and that’s what I’m going to share with you – a simple secret on how to go green without losing the green from your pocket!

So before revealing my tips, let’s start with a little background on the Green Movement. The current Green Movement is based in the idea of sustainability. What is sustainability? Personally, my favorite definition is from Robert Gilman, Director of the Context Institute, You might think of it as extending the Golden Rule through time, so that you do onto future generations (as well as your present fellow beings) as you would have them do onto you. Pretty cool, huh? Being sustainable means taking care of the environment around you  -on any level, be it your room, apartment building, town, state, country, world.

While this seems simple, at times it can seem challenging, especially when you’re on a limited budget already. However, don’t let this deter you from making green changes in your life (your environment will be nicer for you and those around you!). It’s the little things that add up! Continue reading

Happy Earth Day!

Under all that Tar Heel blue, UNC has a heart that’s green.  On the College Sustainability Report Card, an independent sustainability evaluation of 300 public and private colleges, UNC earned an A-.

We got kudos for having a university Sustainability Office, purchasing EnergyStar equipment, using energy-efficient lighting, buying local and organic food, and decreasing water use by 57% per square foot of building since 2005.  Other big winners?  The Report Card loved the Tar Heel Treasure yard sale during move-out in the spring, which generated 13 tons of stuff to sell for worthy causes.  We also got big points for all of our sustainability-focused student groups and the Sustainability Living Learning Community.

So what do we need to work on?  Continue reading