August 14, 2017

Nat Barr on cleaning out her medicine cabinet

Guest post: Natalie Barr, Sunrise 7 Presenter and Return Unwanted Medicines Spokesperson

Ok, so when I think about that ever-changing list of stuff to do each week that continually rolls around in my head.. this is one thing that I have to admit, never really made the cut.

Cleaning out my medicine cabinet didn’t just sit at the bottom of the list, it never even made it ONTO it in the first place.

You know what it’s like, we’re all busy.

In fact, it’s almost a competition these days as to who is the busiest isn’t it?

Everyone has their own things going on.

My things are: an alarm that gets me up at 2:45am Monday to Friday to race into the shower, wash my hair (yes, every day) quickly make a coffee in my takeaway cup to drink on the way to work, drive in to Channel 7 and start going through the overnight news.


I spend half an hour going through what’s happened with the producers, read some scripts, start reading the papers, then I’m in hair and makeup for an hour, cross live to Triple M at 4:45am to talk about the top stories of the day, before I run into the studio and go live with the Early News at 5am and then straight into Sunrise from 5:30am til just after 9am.

I’m home before lunch, I schedule a few naps mid-week if I can and I’m into bed usually before the kids (who are 12 and 16 now) around 7:30-8pm.

So, when I’m at home, I’m usually doing the boring stuff like the washing (got a load of darks in now actually), making the beds, cleaning up the kitchen, heading to the shops for bread and milk and apples for school lunches.

But when I heard about how many unwanted or expired medicines we’re throwing into the bin and down the sink, how much that can impact our environment and how many kids are ending up in hospital each year from preventable poisonings in the home, I thought I should change my thinking.

And then I thought back to a Mum I know from our Mothers Group whose little man got into a sports bag, munched on some old painkillers and then had to be rushed to hospital.

They gave him charcoal so it’d soak up all the drugs and he’d vomit it all up.

He was fine.

But not everyone is.

It makes you think, hey, this is so easy to prevent but hardly any of us are doing it.

Most Australians don’t even know you can take your unwanted or expired medicines, including all your asthma stuff, your bandages, bandaids.. all of it.. to your local pharmacy, where they put it in special Return Unwanted Medicines bins which gets taken away and disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.

I’ve got my Mum doing it, my Mother in Law, my girlfriends, the school mums and they’re all telling their friends and their families.

We all bang on about how GREEN we want to be don’t we.. well this is easy and free and environmentally friendly and it can save lives!

So, finally, cleaning out my medicine cabinet and the drawer in the kitchen made it onto my list.

To find out more about the RUM project, click here.

The Return of Unwanted Medicines Project is a free service that offers a way to dispose of unwanted or expired medicines safely and conveniently at your local community pharmacy. Find out more about the service here.

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