How can I reuse or recycle plastic pill and vitamin bottles?

pill_bottles.jpgWe’ve had an email from Aleta asking for ideas on how to reuse or recycle plastic prescription tablet and vitamin bottles/containers.

They’re usually so sturdy – and usually childproof – that ways to reuse them would be best but can they be recycled? I can’t see a number on the bottom of any of few we have lying around here – does anyone know what type of plastic they are?

Also, does anyone know if there are any schemes to reuse bottles as medicine/prescription bottles again (after sterilising or whatever)?

(Photo by Carin)

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107 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle plastic pill and vitamin bottles?”

  1. Cathy Daugherty says:

    Yes I am a president of the ladies auxiliary for the american legion post 531 and we was wondering if there is a list where we can recycle pill bottles for charity . It would be greatly appreiciated.

    Thank You
    Cathy Daugherty
    American Legion Post 531
    565 Prouty Ave
    Toledo, ohio 43609

    • mary says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I am in the missionary society for St. Paul church and we were wondering if there is a place in St. Louis, Mo. were we can recycle pill bottles for charity. It would be greatly appreciated.

      Thank You
      Brenda Doze
      St. Paul AME Church
      1260 Hamilton Ave
      St. Louis, Mo. 63112

  2. Karen Miller says:

    Amvets Ladies Auxiliary of Hudson,MA is no longer accepting pill bottles.

  3. Alison says:

    I am looking for a way to donate medication bottles. In the Chicago area and coming up with little luck.

    I have found that if you have medications which are less than one year old and not expired you can contact.
    500 East Main Street, Suite 900, Norfolk, VA 23510. Phone: 757.625.7569.
    Physicians for Peace is a registered 501 (c)(3) organization. Tax ID: 54-1532165.

    What’s Needed-Cast cutters, Crutch tips ,Crutch pads, Dermatomes, Diabetes testing strips , Multivitamins, Medication with at least 12 months to expiration date, Prenatal vitamins

    Ken Hudson – For more information on donating

  4. Mary Anne Enriquez says:

    Thanks for the info Alison. Mine are empty…wonder if they can still use them? I will contact them and see.

  5. Mary Anne Enriquez says:

    here is the response I got from Kenneth Hudson from

    “We do not accept medicine bottles as a donation nor do I know of anyone that does. Thanks”

  6. Jackie b says:

    I don’t know about recycling them, but I use Mir to hold jewelry when I travel. I can usually get rings necklaces and earrings in one pill bottle. I also spray painted some to keep on my desk to hold paper clips, pushpins, rubber bands, etc. I’m thinking about spray painting more and putting a magnet on the bottom but I can’t think what I’d use it for. If you can’t recycle, repurpose!!

    • Carole says:

      What about wind chines?

    • Anonymous says:

      exacty, Jakie b, I us mine for seeds that I save from my veggies, beads for beading, sewing needles, thread, tacks, small screws, larger can be used for cotton balls or Q tips.

      Graet for traveling sewing kit.


  7. chezan says:

    @ Jackie b
    Why not put the magnet on the side of the bottle and use as a pen, or other storage tub, on your fridge door!

  8. Debbie says:

    I searched long and hard for a ‘place’ that would take prescription, vitamin, and medicine, type bottles to recycle and came up with nothing. So, I started thinking about how I could use them to organize. I’ve used them to hold safety pins, needles, seeds, loose buttons, earphones / headsets, my make-up brush fits nicely into one so it drops into my purse staying in perfect shape, bandaides & neosporin (take along), etc. I plan on using them for craft supplies & more sewing items like separating beads, snaps, hooks & eyes and various small easily misplaced items. I printed up mailing lables with each of my grandkids names and use those on their bottles so they have their own little treasure keepers. I’m surprised at how many uses I’ve found for them once I realized no one would take them.

  9. jai says:

    I put vaseline in my pill bottle to keep in my handbag as the tin vaseline are not trust worthy in bags as they can spill.Much easier to use and very handy, does not use up space

  10. Donna C says:

    I just found out that walgreens has a recycling program for med containers( not sure if only theirs). Call your local store.

  11. Jenn Nodine says:
    Article provides info on a reward program to recycle pill bottles. You empty and clean them and remove the labels, as you would do if reusing them yourself. Then bring or send them in for points that you can redeem for free stuff. The company who takes them makes new products out of the recycled plastic.

  12. Donatella Barnes says:

    I have many empty prescription pill bottles and would to re-cycle them
    to be sent to Africa where they are an absolute neccessity

    I would be grateful if someone could contact me as to where I need
    to drop them off.

    Donna Barnes

  13. Felicia Neal-Burns says:

    Hello I am reaching out for another organization that is collecting empty pill bottles. I have read that the Malawi Project is closed/not accepting pill bottles. Are there any other project/irganizations that are continuing such a good cause like the Malawi project? Does anyone know if there are organizations in the Kansas area. I tried the Wyndotte county recycling center, they collect but they just have there recycle donation get picked up by the Garbage disposal company.
    I want my donation to help those in other countries i.e. African countries * I know other individuals that want to donate too*

  14. SamRay says:

    I am also looking for a possible local place that will accept the empty medicine bottles for recycle.

    Has anyone found a place or an address?

    Any help in this matter will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanking you in advance!

  15. Jacqueline Deitsch says:

    I am looking for some place to recycle medicine bottles empty and clean big and small. I have a bunch.


    any help is appreciated.

    thank-you so much

  16. melissa says:

    Pill bottles make great containers for sewing and fishing kits for Operation Christmas Child

  17. TAIC69 says:

    Seed Storage
    Clean See through pill bottles thoroughly, write or put package cover along wall and seeds inside. makes a durable container with contents labeled for freezer storage.

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