How can I reuse or recycle old vitamin tablets?

We’ve had an email from Andi:

Can I Compost vitamin tablets? I have two jars in date but have gone moist from the air. What can I do with the bottles?

We’ve covered pill bottles already on the site but the vitamin question is a good one – and I’m not sure of the answer. I suspect it might be “best not”. We’re instructed to always dispose of expired medicines very carefully to avoid risk to the public/wild animals, and to avoid contamination of the environment/water supply. While dietary supplements are generally a lot more benign, there is still some risk, for example, iron can be surprisingly toxic to children, and presumably small animals. I’m not suggesting that many children will hunt around in your compost bin for a feast of pills but the payoff doesn’t really seem worth the risk. I may be wrong though.

I’m also not sure if there will be many reuses for them…

Any suggestions for stopping them going soggy in the first place?

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8 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old vitamin tablets?”

  1. I hope someone knows the answer to this, I literally have a cabinet full of old vitamins!

  2. anna says:

    Water based vitamins should be safe to still eat.. if they are not soggy and not like decades old. Once they are expired, they lose the efficiency, but it’s not lost completely or overnight.
    Fat based vitamins (A and E) are something I’d probably skip, especially if they taste ‘wrong’.

    One thing I’ve been curious is if they could be recycled to plant food. Are any of the stuff that are in human consumption vitamins same as they would use in plant food?

    • Lizzy says:

      I’m pretty sure that the main nutrients in plant food are Nitrates, Potassium and Phosphates, and sometimes Magnesium. Of course it would vary for the type of plant but I suppose that if you have vitamin / mineral supplements that you’re willing to put into your own body, you could probably try feeding a little to yur plants.

  3. OmnivorousReader42 says:

    Perhaps your local pharmacy has a program to handle this?

    • Cipollina says:

      Ours take back all expired/not needed medicines – supplements included – and medical equipment (syringes, inhalators, and such). I am not sure what they do with them, though, but this service does at least keep the potential dangers theste things represent out of the regular landfills.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Years ago, we fed our chickens a bunch of vitamins that accidentally got wet. Their eggs were amazing, orange yolks, extra hard shells. They really seemed to like the vitamins. Of course, I can’t recommend feeding any animal supplements that are meant for humans, but the chickens seemed to really like them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Local disposal services often recycle old vitamins, if you go to their headquarters where you may also dispose of electronics, etc.

  6. Kris says:

    Crushed Vitamin C tablets mixed to a paste can remove dye from your hair.

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