Safe Disposal of Pharmaceuticals and Medications

“Pharmaceuticals are often [improperly] discarded by throwing them down a drain, toilet, or carelessly into the trash. . . . When medication and personal care products are flushed down the toilet or thrown down the drain, they can end up in our water sources. . . . Medication that is thrown in a trash bag will eventually end up sitting in a landfill, where it may leach indirectly into the water. The long term effects of these pharmaceuticals and personal care products are currently not fully understood. We do know however, that having pharmaceuticals in the water supply can affect the local environment, including aquatic life . . . and can harm humans and wildlife, especially fish and amphibians.”
Illinois EPA’s Medication Disposal FAQ Page

There are numerous drop-off sites that residents should use to dispose of any unwanted, residential medications and needles; these sites do not accept commercially or industrially generated medical waste, such as from doctors’ offices or hospitals. SWANCC instructs residents to “Please keep medications in their original containers, as it is necessary to know what medications the contractor is dealing with.”

These drop-off sites only accept medical waste at specific times, sometimes only on a one-day-per-month basis, and often only from residents of the municipality in which the site is located. It is important to check for the closest drop-off site and check its availability to accept unwanted medications and needles. A drop-off site near Mount Prospect with no residency restriction is
Prospect Heights
City Hall
8 N Elmhurst Road
(847) 398-6070, ext. 206
Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

For more information about SWANCC drop-off sites, as well as instructions and restrictions, visit SWANCC’s pharmaceutical disposal page.

For a more complete, state-wide list and map of drop-off locations, visit the Illinois EPA’s medication disposal locations page.