Household Hazardous Waste
This item should never be put in a curbside bin. For more information visit our household hazardous waste page.
Medications include over-the-counter and doctor-prescribed medicine taken orally or applied topically, like creams, lotions or shampoos, for people or pets. Does not include vitamins or dietary supplements.
Prepare your drugs for disposal before arriving at a Medication Takeback kiosk site. Accepted items include all prescription drugs in any dosage form (e.g. pills, liquids, creams, aerosols). Protect your privacy by removing or obscuring any labels showing your personal information on drug containers or vials. You can pour all your pills into a Zip-lock bag no larger than 1 gallon in size, and recycle the vials and other containers in your home recycling. Liquids and creams should remain in their original containers and tightly closed to prevent leakage. Aerosols should have their protective caps affixed to prevent accidental discharge. Remove inhaler vials from the inhaler mechanism. Kiosks are located near the pharmacy area, or for hospitals and police departments, in the lobby.
Pre-filled syringes and auto-injectors with an integral or attached needle is considered a "sharp."
Old vitamins and supplements may be composted along with the cotton & the packaging recycled (ex. clean, dry plastic bottle) or put in the garbage (ex. blister packs) as they are not considered medications/hazardous. Silica gel packs can be reused (e.g. edible dry goods) or landfilled.
At the kiosk: Take care at the kiosk not to introduce too many materials into the kiosk drop-chute at one time. Check the kiosk chute after closing to ensure the drugs dropped into the kiosk. Federal law prevents anyone from reviewing or examining the drugs you wish to dispose, so place them in the kiosk yourself – do not accept any unsolicited assistance to do so.
Per CalRecycle, please do not put unmedicated lotions, cosmetics, fragrances, sunscreen agents, and similar products down the drain or into the toilet; the best "somewhere else" to throw these items is your household trash. Landfills are the best place at present to dispose of personal care products when they are no longer being used.
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