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Disposal of common medications

Medicine take-back options, usually through collection sites, are the preferred way to safely dispose of most types of unneeded medicines such as:

  • tablets
  • capsules ointments
  • lotions
  • liquids

In your community, authorized permanent collection sites or drop boxes may be in retail pharmacies, hospitals or clinic pharmacies, as well as law enforcement facilities. Some authorized collection sites may also offer mail-back programs. Click here to find a controlled substance public disposal location near you.

Disposal of sharp objects

Sharp objects like needles and lancets should never be recycled or thrown loosely into the trash or toilet. Click here to find a safe sharp disposal site near you.

Disposal of thermometers

  • Mercury thermometers are treated as hazardous waste and should be disposed of at a hazardous waste collection facility.
  • Digital thermometers can go in the regular garbage after removal of the battery.

Disposal of inhalers

Carefully read the handling instructions on the labeling of inhalers and aerosol products.

  • If the inhaler or canister is empty, it can be put in the trash. The plastic case can be placed in recycling.
  • If you aren’t sure if the inhaler or canister is empty or if there is still some medication left, contact your trash and recycling facility. These products could be dangerous if punctured or thrown into a fire or incinerator.