Proper Disposal Of Medications & Medical Sharps

Medications should never be flushed down the drain. For proper disposal of pharmaceuticals, the best solution is to return them to a pharmacy with a take-back program. Please check with your local pharmacy to see if they offer a take-back program. MRWMD’S Household Hazardous Waste Program can receive “over the counter” medication and medical sharps (safely sealed in a sharps container and/or sealed and labeled plastic bottle).

For a listing of free safe collection sites for unused medications in Monterey County, visit Don’t Rush to Flush.

To dispose of your medications or medical sharps at MWRMD, follow the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for disposing of pharmaceutical wastes in the trash.


  • Remove the medicines from the original container and mix with an undesirable material such as coffee grounds, ashes, or kitty litter.
  • Then place the mixture in an impermeable container such as a clear zipper bag and discard the bag in the trash.
  • Recycle the empty plastic medicine bottles in your curbside recycling program.

Medical Sharps (Lancets And Syringes With Needles)

To prevent accidental needle sticks and exposure to blood borne pathogens in your home and community, always use proper containment and disposal.

  • Obtain a sharps container from your local pharmacy or HHW
  • Discard all used or exposed needles, syringes, & lancets, in a sharps container
  • Dispose sharps container at an approved drop-off location when ¾ full.

For further information about safe and proper disposal and drop off locations see Monterey County’s publications “Sharps Disposal” and “Pharmaceutical Drop Off”.

For More Information

Pharmaceutical Drop-Off Locations

Health Department Disposal Guidelines

Sharps Drop-Off Locations

Sharps Drop-Off Locations Spanish

*MRWMD Service Area Includes the following jurisdictions:

Moss Landing, Castroville, Marina, Seaside, Del Rey Oaks, Sand City, Monterey, Monterey-Salinas Highway area, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Carmel, Unincorporated Carmel, Carmel Valley, Carmel Highlands, and Big Sur