Note: Medicine Disposal is not available at SCARCE. Please see below for locations.
How Do I Dispose of Old or Unwanted Medicine?
Don’t Rush to Flush!
Old advice for disposing of unwanted or expired medicine was to flush it down the toilet. Now, scientists have found these medicines are polluting our waterways, including those we use for drinking water. “Don’t rush to flush!” is the new mantra.
To protect water quality and for public safety, medicines should be taken for disposal at a verified collection site. In DuPage County, many police stations take part in the RxBox program for medicine disposal. SCARCE continues to work to expand the RxBox program with help from a grant from the DuPage Foundation.
What Happens to the Medicine?
Collected medicine is incinerated. This process completely destroys the active ingredients. Although this is not ideal for air quality, it is better than flushing medicines down the toilet or throwing them in the trash. When flushed, medicine gets into waterways and few water treatment centers can remove it. When thrown out, medicine can mix with water or other liquids in a landfill and drain into soil and groundwater.
Medicine that is no longer needed can be disposed of at certain police stations (see list below), the Naperville Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility, and select Walgreens pharmacies during store hours.
Empty all the pills into a ziplock bag*. The bottle or container can be disposed of separately (and may be recyclable). Collection sites have very limited space and want to prioritize disposal of medicines – not packaging – nor do they want your personal information from the prescription bottle.
*Liquid medicines should remain in their original container and be enclosed in a separate ziploc bag.
- Prescription & Over-the-Counter Medications
- Medicated Ointments
- Liquid Medications
- Prescription & Over-the-Counter Inhalers
- Pet medicines
- Only residentially-generated medication items
Items Not Accepted
Sharps/Needles, Mercury Thermometers, Bio-Hazardous materials (Wound dressings), Radioactive Medicines, Other Household Wastes, Medical wastes from businesses
Police Stations with Collections
This list of DuPage County police stations changes frequently as the program expands. Be sure to check with your local station to find out if they have a collection.
- Burr Ridge
- Carol Stream
- Clarendon Hills
- Downers Grove (by appointment 630-434-5681)
- DuPage County Sheriff
- Elk Grove Village
- Glendale Heights
- Hanover Park
- Naperville (M-F 7a-8p, Sat 10a-6p, except holidays)
- West Chicago
- Wood Dale
- Woodridge (M-F 8am-4:30pm)
Other Medicine Collection Sites
Last Saturday of each month 9 AM - Noon
535 Duane St
156 Fort Hill Dr
Weekends only. 9 AM - 2 PM (Excluding holidays)
All ten stations have 24/7 drop off containers
1221 N. Lake St
1000 Ogden Ave
324 Roosevelt Rd
7350 Barrington Rd
63 W 87th Street
200 E. Roosevelt Rd