Medication Storage and Disposal

Medication Storage and Disposal

Storing drugs improperly can limit their effectiveness or even pose serious safety risks. With a little effort, you can avoid both problems. By learning how to safely dispose your medications, you can protect the community as well as the environment.

Storage Basics

  • Store medications in their original containers or prescription bottles with labels and expiration dates.
  • Make sure containers are out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from places with heat, light, and moisture–all of which can cause deterioration. Some bathroom cabinets may be too moist.
  • Protect your medication from sources of contamination.
  • Separate medications from food if stored in the refrigerator.
  • Store each medication according to the manufacturer’s or pharmacist’s instructions.
  • Dispose of expired drugs.

Safe Disposal Tips

  • Check with your pharmacy to see if it offers a take-back program for your non-controlled (non-narcotic) drugs
  • Never Flush Your Medication – Flushing medication down the toilet is the worst disposal option. Wastewater treatment facilities can’t remove all traces of pharmaceutical chemicals, so they will contaminate local waters and harm aquatic life.

If you can’t take your medications to a disposal location, you may put them in the trash. Be sure to:

  • Take medications out of their containers.
  • Put them in a sealable container (such as a plastic bag or coffee can).
  • Mix in a little water and an undesirable substance (coffee grounds or kitty litter, for example).
  • Seal the container and be sure to put it in the trash, not the recycling.
  • Cross out personal information from prescription labels before putting empty containers in the recycling bin or trash.

Medication Disposal Locations in the East Bay

If your pharmacy does not participate in a medical disposal program, you can dispose your medications at the following sites in the East Bay. Before you do so, first seal bottled liquids in a plastic bag and don’t include syringes or needles with medications.

Antioch, Delta HHW Collection Facility (East County)
2550 Pittsburg-Antioch Highway

Clayton, Police Department, City Hall
6000 Heritage Trail

Concord, Police Department
1350 Galindo Street

Danville, Police Department
510 La Gonda Way

Martinez, Contra Costa Sheriff’s Field Operations Building
1980 Muir Road

Martinez, County Regional Medical Center
2500 Alhambra Avenue

Martinez, Police Department, City Hall
525 Henrietta Street

Moraga, Police Department
329 Rheem Boulevard

Orinda, Police Department, City Hall
22 Orinda Way

Pleasant Hill, Police Department
330 Civic Drive

Richmond, Contra Costa County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
West County Resource Recovery
101 Pittsburg Avenue

San Ramon, Dougherty Police Department Substation
17011 Bollinger Canyon Road

Walnut Creek, Police Department, City Hall
1666 North Main Street