Medical Waste Disposal

Americans are consuming more over-the-counter and prescription medicines each year. These compounds are showing up in our nation’s rivers and streams and the long-term effects on the environment are not known. In addition, improper disposal also poses a risk to children and pets if they are accidentally consumed.

Medical Waste Collections Options

  • Household Hazardous Waste: Ingham County residents can dispose of common household hazardous items, including medications at the Ingham County Human Services Building, 5303 South Cedar Street in Lansing. The collection schedule is every Thursday from May to the end of September (except the Fourth of July) from 2 - 6 p.m. Learn more.

Summary of the Guidelines for Disposal

Most medications that are flushed down the drain are not removed by conventional wastewater treatment plants and pass through to rivers and streams. Therefore, do not flush drugs down the sink or toilet.
  • Check with your pharmacy to see if they have a take-back program for unused drugs.
  • Take your drugs to a special collection for unwanted medications (see list of collections above)
  • Dispose of medicine in the trash if a collection program is not available as follows:
    • Keep pharmaceuticals in their original container
    • Remove personal information from the label or render it unreadable
    • Render solid medications such as pills or capsules useless by adding a small amount of water to at least partially dissolve them. Seal the containers. Render liquid medications useless by adding table salt, flour, charcoal or nontoxic powdered spice. Seal the container.