California Expands Drug Takeback Program

pills on orange background

Disposing of old medicine properly has benefits for public health and the environment. Both accidental and recreational illegal use are proven to increase when old or unwanted medicine are kept around the house. Throwing medicine away in the garbage can land it in the wrong hands, while flushing it risks polluting our water systems. Advanced treatment technology used at wastewater treatment plants still cannot remove these medicines from the water, so they can pass through the treatment plant and into our waterways. Traces of pharmaceuticals have been found in streams and tap water across the county.

So what is the best way to get rid of unwanted medications? That’s easy: properly dispose of it at any of more than 300 designated disposal locations across California.

There are many new safe take-back locations for California residents. Here in Santa Clara County, the Med-Project has expanded for the disposal of unused or unwanted medication to more than 100 sites across the county!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Remove pills from bottle or other container.
  2. Keep creams and liquids in original containers and remove or cover your name and other sensitive information.
  3. Check to make sure your unwanted items are accepted in the program.
  4. Bring pills in a zipper bag and any liquids/creams to a location on the map (below) and place in the proper bin.

Visit to find a free drop-off bin near you.

Want more recycling and waste-related content? Subscribe to our bi-monthly e-newsletter, The Loop, for the most current recycling, garbage and waste reduction news: