San Francisco Department of the Environment

Safely Get Rid of Unwanted Medicine

Note: Due to shelter-in-place public health orders in effect across the Bay Area, many facilities, programs and businesses are closed or may have reduced services. We recommend calling them before dropping off your waste. Please follow State and Federal guidelines for keeping yourself and our community safe and healthy. 


Use a Medicine Drop-off Kiosk

Dispose of your unwanted, expired medicine at a drop-off location near you.

Got pre-filled injectors? Request an injector mail-back package; pre-filled injectors (e.g. EpiPens®) cannot be discarded in Drop-off Kiosks (per guidelines by the Board of Pharmacy)

Pick Up a Mail-Back Envelope - Locations Temporarily Closed

Visit a participating mail-back distribution location to pick up a free, prepaid envelope to mail in your pills, liquids, and creams for proper disposal.

Residents Can Still Request a Mail-Back Package Online or by Phone

Residents unable to travel to a drop-off or mail-back envelope distribution location may request a free prepaid envelope be sent to their home, online, or by calling 1.844.633.7765. Separate packages must be used for standard medicines (pills, liquids, and creams), pre-filled injectors, and inhalers. 


Instructions

Don’t

  • Don’t flush medicine down the toilet or sink.
  • Don’t put medicine in the trash.
  • Don't keep unused medicines lying around.

Kiosk Instructions

When you visit one of the drop-off locations, simply deposit your medicine in the kiosk.

  • Pills - Consolidate pills in a plastic zipper bag or in as few containers as possible. Remove any personal information and recycle empty pill bottles and outer packaging in your blue cart.
  • Liquid or Cream Medicines - Tighten the lids of liquid or cream medicines or place the entire container in a plastic zipper bag. Please note that Walgreens does NOT accept liquids or creams in their drop-off kiosks.
  • Aerosols or Inhalers - Place directly into the kiosk. Please note that Walgreens does NOT accept aerosols or inhalers in their drop-off kiosks.

Drop-off locations DO NOT accept:

  • Empty or used needles and syringes - Take to any San Francisco Walgreens Pharmacy and ask to use the Free Sharps Disposal Program. Find other locations for disposal of used or unwanted needles and syringes on RecycleWhere. More information: Free Sharps Disposal Program.
  • Pre-filled injectors (e.g. EpiPens®) - Request a free, prepaid mail-back package to mail in your unwanted injectors for proper disposal online or by calling 1.844.633.7765. 
  • Thermometers - Take thermometers to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility or request a Home Pickup.
  • Personal Care Items - Toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, peroxide, or other non-medicated personal care products (Use up, donate or place in black cart).

For More Information

  • Residents - For general questions about the Safe Medicine Disposal program call San Francisco Department of the Environment at 415.355.3700.
  • Pharmacies - To request a poster and other display materials required by San Francisco's Safe Drug Disposal Information Ordinance, please email [email protected].
  • Clinics, Hospitals, Doctor's Offices - For more information about disposal of medicines from a business (clinic, hospital, doctor's office), go to the Department of Public Health website or call 415.252.3800.

 

What's the problem with unused medicine?

Unused medicine is a threat to both public health and the environment. Since 2003, more drug overdoses occur annually from prescription medicines than cocaine and heroin combined. Accidental poisonings from medicines in the home are also a concern for young children, seniors, and pets.


Looking for Information on San Francisco’s Safe Drug Disposal Stewardship Ordinance?