Each year, millions of U.S. citizens continue to flush their old prescription medicine down the toilet despite a warning issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) back in 2003. Improper disposal of old medicine not only pollutes our nation's water...read more
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We all wish we had more time in the day. Sometimes even the microwave seems to take “too long” in getting dinner on the table. While waiting for the timer to go off, you may find yourself in suspended animation. Too much time to wait and too little time to walk away. What if you could take these microwave minutes, and turn them into productive time?
Here’s a guide to help you do just that:
1. Brainstorm. You probably have a mental checklist of things that need to be done in your kitchen and in your home, but you never quite find the time to do them. Get a academic diary and pen, and while you’re waiting for the microwave to beep, set about listing as many of these chores and tasks as you can. They don’t all have to be major projects like painting the kitchen. Include things like making a grocery list, unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, wiping down the fridge, and emptying the trash. Use your microwave minutes to fill this list until you can’t think of another thing that needs to be done.
2. Filter. It will probably take you several nights’ worth of microwave minutes to brainstorm your list. Now it’s time to focus. While you’re waiting for the microwave, take your pen and cross of any task that cannot be completed in small increments. Painting the kitchen is a good one to remove from the list, for example, because even though the prep-work can be done a little at a time, the rest of the job has to be done in one long stretch for maximum efficiency. However, by way of example, if you know you’re going to be painting the kitchen this weekend, go ahead and leave ‘Put up painter’s tape’ on the list because that can be done a little bit at a time.
3. Break it down. Find ways to break larger tasks into smaller ones. For example, instead of listing ‘Clean the living room’ divide the task into smaller tasks such as sorting the mail, polishing the end tables, and cleaning under the sofa cushions. It’s ok if your microwave minute list keeps getting longer. The longer it is, the more tasks you’ll have to choose from.
4. Post Your List. You may want to take your microwave minute list, type it up, and print it out. But even if you don’t, you should still post the list. While you’re waiting for the microwave to go off, go find a roll of clear tape. Use it to post your list of microwave minute tasks to the inside of a cabinet door.
5. Baby Steps. Whenever you find yourself waiting around for the microwave, think of that time as Microwave Minutes. Open your cabinet door and peek at the list. Choose one of the tasks to tackle while you’re waiting for the microwave to beep. You may not finish the task. It may take you a week’s worth of microwave minutes to clean your kitchen windows, but that’s still time saved! Little by little, you can be productive and get organized while stealing time you didn’t think you had.
Each year, millions of U.S. citizens continue to flush their old prescription medicine down the toilet despite a warning issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) back in 2003. Improper disposal of old medicine not only pollutes our nation’s water supplies, it also accumulates in garbage dumps where animals can be poisoned or scavengers can collect up the old drugs to use or resell.
With hormones and antibiotics now showing up in our waterways, scientists are encouraging both private citizens and nursing homes from using the old stand-by to dispose of both over the counter and prescription medications.
According to the Associated Press, one study estimated that our nation’s nursing homes alone throw away between $73 million to $378 million worth of antibiotics, hormones and other medications each year. Larger medical facilities often incinerate expired pills, but they too flush medicines down toilets as a means of mass disposal. Choosing these medications, just like choosing skin products should come from great reviews, like the one I currently bought–vitamin c serum for face reviews.
A few years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found remnants of medicines including narcotic painkillers, estrogen from birth control pills and flushed vaginal rings, antidepressants and blood pressure medicines in water samples from thirty states.
While the long-term effects of medicinal water pollution and urban runoff aren’t known, scientists from the EPA and USGS are concerned that exposure to even small amounts of toxins might cause ecological damage. Studies have linked hormone ingestion to reproductive side effects in fish, and environmental contact with antibiotics may promote an increase of drug-resistant germs.
So what are we supposed to do with those old pills in our medicine cabinets? Why, mix it with old kitty litter of course! While there is no perfect solution, officials suggest placing ground up medicine in your cat’s old kitty litter, or coffee grounds if you don’t own a cat, will stop animals from ingesting pills in dumps and will keep the human scavengers away.
If you don’t have kitty litter or coffee grounds on hand, when given a choice, experts say disposing medications in the trash is better than putting them into the sewers, but only because the runoff takes longer to get into our streams. Make sure to crush up medicines in pill form first, and then place the powder back into its original container and duct tape the cap.
Another option is to look up local hazardous waste collection programs in your area and see if they accept expired medications. If they do accept old pills, it would be best to grind them up first and send them back unlabeled. Your local poison control center might be able to suggest disposal locations in your area.
Pharmacies across the nation have been holding “clean out your medicine cabinet” awareness programs each fall, but no matter what time of year you choose to wade through your old prescriptions, most pharmacies will gladly accept your old and unused over-the-counter and prescription medications for proper disposal. Contact your local pharmacy to see if they are currently running a disposal program.