Disposal of Medicine & Needles

What is unwanted medicine?
Unwanted medicine is any prescribed or over-the-counter medication that is expired or no longer needed for medical treatment.

How should I dispose of my unwanted medicine?
Previously, people were instructed to flush unwanted medicine down the drain. This is no longer advised now because we know that flushing medicine can harm the environment. Wastewater treatment plants and septic systems cannot remove pharmaceutical compounds from the waste water so these chemicals pass through treatment plants or septic systems into Lake Erie, the source of our drinking water. These pharmaceutical compounds also pose a risk to aquatic organisms.

Unwanted medicine should be disposed with your household trash after taking the following precautions. These precautions will ensure the safety of children and animals and prevent misuse of the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in its original container. You may want to remove the label or conceal patient information or drug information with a marker.
  • Before placing in the trash, make the medicine unusable by mixing in some coffee grounds or dissolving the pills with water and sealing the original container with tape. Liquid medicine should be placed in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Place the contaianer in durable packaging that masks the contents, such as a brown cardboard box.
  • Place the medicine in your trash for pick-up day.
CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens stores offer the Sharps Compliance Inc. medication disposal system, which allows customers to dispose of unused or expired medication via the mail. Customers purchase postage-paid envelopes for $3.99 each, fill the envelope with their unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications, and put the envelope in the mail the to Sharp Compliance’s Texas facility for disposal.

For more information or to purchase an envelope, customers should visit a CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens pharmacy.
  • Controlled substances are excluded from the program.
The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration sponsors drug take-back events a couple times a year. These events are held in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies. To locate an event near you, log onto www.drugawarenessandprevention.com or www.disposemymeds.org

Needles & Syringes
Instructions for Safe Needle Disposal
Used needles and syringes from self injections may be placed in the regular trash if the following precautions are followed. These precautions are designed to protect sanitation workers and other workers in the waste industry from being stuck by a needle.

Requirements for Safe Needle Disposal
Place used needles and syringes in a rigid plastic container with a sealable lid such as a Sharps container or a plastic laundry detergent bottle with a screw top.
  • Seal the lid with tape.
  • Place the container in your regular trash.
  • Do not place the container is with your recyclables.
For more information, see www.cdc.gov/needledisposal

We thank you for being responsible!

If you have any questions about how to dispose of sharps, please contact Michael Gelardi, Solid Waste Manager or the Solon Service Department at (440) 248-5834.