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Hazardous Waste Warning

Wastes in this section are dangerous to you and the environment. Handle them carefully and dispose of them properly.

Legally, households may not transport more than 15 gallons of wet or 125 pounds of dry hazardous materials. Read about the regulation.

Click below to watch our new Medication Disposal video:

Medication Disposal Video

Household Medications

Please don't flush old medications down the drain. Wastewater treatment facilities are not able to remove many of the chemicals that make up pharmaceutical products. If released into water bodies, these pharmaceutical byproducts can adversely impact wildlife and the environment.

So if I can't put meds down the drain, what should I do with them?

In January 2010, County staff kicked off a new program specifically designed for unwanted household medications. Called "Operation Medicine Cabinet," this program is available at each of the Sheriff's nine substations throughout the County. Residents can deposit all unwanted medications -- both prescription and over-the-counter -- in drop-boxes located outside the substations.

The drop-boxes resemble white mail boxes and are free to the public. Please note that this program is for household use only; businesses, including clinics and doctors' offices, are not permitted.

Find the closest location below or download our Operation Medicine Cabinet brochure in English or Spanish.

You can also download our recent press release here.

What about Controlled Substances?

Some prescription drugs classified as Controlled Substances are highly regulated, so only the sherrif's office locations can accept them. See the Controlled Substances page for details.

Please note that some of the locations listed in the "Where to Go" section below accept medicines and other hazardous wastes but not controlled substances.

Can I also drop off my needles at the Sheriff's substations?

NO! The drop-boxes are not designed to accept any "sharps." Please see our Sharps Disposal page for local collection sites.

Should I put pills into a plastic bag or keep them in their original bottles?

It's best to place all pills into a tightly sealed baggy (e.g. Ziploc) prior to bringing them to one of the drop-off sites.  You can then recycle the bottles and/or boxes in your household recycling bin.

What about liquid medication?

Please make sure that liquid medicines are sealed tightly and put into a plastic bag. This is also true for medicated creams and lotions.

What about disposal at hazardous waste collection centers?

Some household hazardous waste facilities will accept certain types of medications; however, they are not permitted to collect "controlled substances." Controlled substances are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and include addictive and habit-forming medications like pain killers and anti-depressants. Check out our Controlled Substances page for more info.

A note about pharmacies:

Some retail pharmacies have recently begun to install medication collection bins in their stores. Some also sell special envelopes that can be filled with unwanted medications and mailed to a central collection facility. Please call your pharmacy directly for instructions and pricing.

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