Medication Disposal

Proper disposal of unused medications helps protect your family, the community, and the environment. Unused and unsecured prescription medications can lead to medication errors, accidental poisoning, overdose, or abuse.

How medications are disposed of matters. Unused medications thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet can contaminate the water supply, and medications thrown in the trash can be retrieved.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recommend using medication mail-back envelopes or disposal locations, so unused medications can be properly destroyed.

Disposal Options

UI Health offers envelopes for the proper disposal of unused medications. The envelopes are available free of charge at all UI Health ambulatory pharmacies and some clinics. Unwanted medications are placed in a postage-paid envelope and sent via U.S. Postal Service to a DEA and EPA-compliant facility for destruction.

Contact your pharmacy or clinic for more information on how to dispose of medications using the mail-back envelopes.

Medication Disposal Locations

You may also lookup medication disposal locations near you.

What medications can you dispose of in the Mail-Back Envelopes?

Accepted: Medications in any dosage form. Medications should be removed from pill bottles or boxes. Liquids should be kept in their packaging and sealed in a bag. Please recycle the remaining packaging if medications are transferred to a sealed bag.

To protect your privacy, please remove all personally identifiable information on medication labels or materials before disposal.

Not Accepted:

  • Batteries
  • Cosmetics
  • Herbal remedies
  • Illicit drugs
  • Medical devices
  • Mercury-containing thermometers
  • Personal care products
  • Sharps (needles or injections)