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Give Back: Donate Your Empty Pill Bottles to Make a Difference

Ali Katz


When we pick up our prescriptions, we take the containers for granted. By contrast, in many countries medical care is very difficult to come by. It is expensive, and not many qualified medical providers work in impoverished communities.

In developing countries, medicines when actually obtainable are often dispensed into hands, pockets, leaves or any other available container.

Charitable organizations have started collection efforts to help those less fortunate than us. One example is the Malawi Project.  The goal of the project was to provide clean, used pill bottles for reuse in Malawi, Africa. The method was simple: Collect your used pill bottles, remove the labels fully, then send them to the project’s headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. The program ceased operation at the end of 2015, but M25m continues its collection of this typically disposable resource, giving new purpose to something many of us take for granted.

Animal shelters and boarding kennels often also need prescription bottles to facilitate caring for animals. These organizations often lack adequate resources to purchase bottles for medication distribution.

You may also want to check with local governmental organizations for information about how to recycle bottles in your community. For example, Pinellas County, Florida publishes a resource with ideas about how to benefit others through donating pill bottles. Here are a few examples in that community:

  • Stray animal shelters;
  • The local Society for the Protection of Animals;
  • A local grocery store; and
  • A local church.

While it may seem inconceivable that something as small as a pill bottle is worth much, its value as a basic medical resource can make a significant difference to people and animals in our country and all over the world.

We look at estate planning as more than simply passing on your money to the next generation; instead it’s a whole lifestyle shift to looking at how you can do the most good in the world while you are living and leave the world better off after you are gone.

If you are a parent of young children, getting your little one’s involved in efforts such as these early in life teach them what you value and how even small contributions can have big impact. Passing on your values begins with conscious choices made on a daily basis and estate planning is one of the best ways we know of to consciously plan for a life that truly matters.