The first of the year some how invokes that “must “declutter feeling.” Is it being indoor? A new year? Who know. All I do know is my pantry is the bane of my existence. Especially the shelves that contain the vitamins.
I swear they grow expontentially. And no, Suzanne Sommers doesn’t live with me. However, if there were a male Suzanne Sommers, it would be my hubby. He is a vitamin addict. We have vitamins that I have no idea what they are for. Three or four containers of the same vitamin. Why? He can’t see what he has and doesn’t have. Do you have a vitamin addict in your house?
DeCluttering the Pantry
I have challenged you several time on Green Talk to declutter your pantry. I don’t know about you, but when the pantry is crowded I often buy more than I should. Why? How the heck can see you behind 10 cans of tomato sauce? Or all the empty boxes that the cavemen fail to throw out. Are you with me here?
Hubby is the buyer in the household and love a good sale. Hence, in my opinion, the clutter. Let’s be frank. Hubby needs a full time clutter assistant or an intervention, which ever comes first. Who is this “person” in your home?
More Vitamins in a Square Mile Then People in NJ
Well, this year I had it with the overpopulation of vitamins. There was one designated shelf for vitamins that has grown in five years to three shelves. I kid you not. And between you and me, how many do you think have expired?
So, I methodically alphabetized all the vitamins. Before, you say, Anna, come on, get a life, there is a method to my madness. I figured if he saw with his vitamin A enriched eyes how many multiple bottles of the same vitamins he had, he would be more careful in the future. Fat chance, but a green girl is gotta do what’s she has to do. (Okay, how many bottles of vitamin C do you need? With all those vitamins who gets colds anyways?)
Oh, did I tell you. He even had half bottles of the same vitamins. You don’t want to know how many hours this little exercise took me.
Don’t get me wrong. Hubby is a lovable guy but this vitamin thing has me pretty wacked.
Finally, hubby knew that he had to clean up the vitamins starring him the face. As he sorted, he made different piles:
- expired vitamins (surprise, surprise)
- not my vitamins (ie belongs to the kids, the dog we don’t have, and maybe a distant cousin’s) and
- finally, the ones that he wanted to keep.
So What Do I Do With the Old Vitamins?
So, as you can imagine, I had alot of vitamins to dispose of. Throwing them down the toliet wasn’t an option. According to the EPA,
“[s]ome medicines, vitamins and other supplements poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet may pass through wastewater treatment plants. They may enter lakes, rivers and streams which are often used as sources for community drinking water supplies. Watertreatment plants are generally not equipped to routinely remove medicines and supplements.”
As I search online for alternatives, I ran across the following options:
- Dissolve them and then put them in plastic bag with coffee grounds or kitty litter. Then, throw them away. If you know anything about me, I never throw away anything. (Ask my sister.)
- Give them to the police when there is a US take back program. I did sort out the old medicine and hid them in the house to give to the semi-annual take back program.
- Find a participating green pharmacy who will take back medicine. See here for other US state programs. Note, it is not a definitive list since your state might not be on it.
- For information in other countries, see EcoLife’s recycling list. Scan down to “Disposing of pharmaceuticals” towards the bottom. Also, see the information on the Northwest Product Stewardship Council.
For the life of me, I couldn’t find anyone to donate the vitamins to. The take back program in my area had occurred. Another one wouldn’t be schedule until April. So, the light bulb came on and I thought why not compost them. They are just minerals, right?
I didn’t want to just throw them in the composter since I couldn’t figure out how they would decompose. However, if I did, some rodent probably would be quite healthy. Those darn animals get into the compost in the winter despite my rodent screen. Plus, some of the vitamins are gel coated. How the heck were they going to decompose?
So, I decided to put them in boiling water. My friend’s college age child who is majoring in chemical engineering suggested that I use vingear to simulate the stomach acid. Clever, huh? However, I tried boiling water first.
Lo and behold a couple of hours later, I had vitamin soup. Thank goodness it didn’t smell bad since there were old cinamon capsules in the mix. But, it didn’t look particular appetizing.
Guess who had the task of taking it down to the composter? Hubby.
So, next spring I expect to have the healthiest compost in the neighborhood!
Join the Conversation
- How do you dispose of your old vitamins?
- Do you have a place to give them to?
- Do have a rule of thumb to know when vitamins expire?
- Do you compost them too?
- Can you add to the list of international or state takeback programs?
- The Kitchen Pantry: Clutter Free but Still Losing the Battle
- How Can Brown Turn to Green?
- Removing Bottle Labels without Chemicals
- NJ Residents: Recycle your Unwanted or Expired Medication Nov 14, 2009
- How to Recycle Alkaline Batteries