Safe Medication Disposal



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50 percent of Americans take one prescription drug. The lack of sufficient safe and convenient disposal locations for unwanted drugs creates significant risks to human health and to the environment. As a result, unwanted drugs are often left in homes where they can be accidentally ingested or abused by children, adults, and the elderly, increasing the risk of poisoning, addiction, and death. Unwanted drugs are also thrown in the trash where they can be leached into the ground and flushed down toilets where the complex compounds are not removed from the water supply. 

Recognizing this growing problem, the County of Santa Clara began working on a collection program for unwanted pharmaceuticals in 2008. This program initially consisted of collecting unwanted pharmaceuticals at the County’s household hazardous waste collection events and 13 secure drop boxes located at County pharmacies and Sheriff’s stations. The limitations of this program, led to the development of the Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance. 

On May 19, 2015, the Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance (No. NS-517.89) was passed by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Clara. The Ordinance requires pharmaceutical producers to develop a Product Stewardship Program to finance and manage the collection, transportation, and disposal of unwanted medicine from Santa Clara County residents. On June 23, 2015 a second reading of the Ordinance, which included a Stewardship Plan, was received and adopted by the Board. The Safe Drug Disposal went into effect on July 23, 2015. 

The Inmar-Intelligence and MED-Project are stewardship organizations established by the pharmaceutical manufacturers to implement the program throughout California including in counties such as Alameda, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Marin and our own here in Santa Clara County. Currently, there are 100+ kiosks located throughout the Santa Clara County.  Please visit​ for a list of locations and more information about how to safely dispose of your unwanted medications. 


If you are a business that generates medical waste please contact the Santa Clara County Medical Waste Program at 408-918-3400 or view the Medical Waste Management Program page.

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