Medical Waste ~ Pharmaceuticals & Sharps

(FREE Drop-off at HHW facility)

West Contra Costa residents may drop-off unwanted or old medicine, pharmaceuticals and “sharps” (needles, syringes and lancets) for free at the West County HHW Collection Facility.

Proper Medicine/Pharmaceuticals / Sharps Disposal Made Easy

1.  Keep medicine/pharmaceuticals in original container;

2.  Leave the drug name intact.  Black out personal information, including names, prescription numbers and doctor’s name;

3.  Drop-off unwanted medicine/pharmaceuticals at the HHW Collection Facility at 101 Pittsburg Ave., Richmond.

Note: No controlled substances will be accepted.

Pharmaceuticals Now Present in the Environment

**News Release May 2012 - Look Below for Additional Drop Off Locations for Pharmaceuticals**

Pharmaceuticals are now being detected in water and soil by scientists worldwide.  A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study found pharmaceutical and personal care product contaminants in 80 percent of 139 streams sampled in 30 states.

Pharmaceuticals enter wastewater treatment plants through either excretion or flushing of unused medications. These pharmaceuticals may not be completely degraded or removed at the wastewater treatment plant. Regardless of the level of treatment, most conventional wastewater treatment cannot effectively eliminate pharmaceutical compounds.

Concern about Pharmaceuticals in the Environment

Researchers suspect that hormones and pharmaceutical compounds in the water may be responsible for effects on wildlife including feminization of male fish, sluggish activity or reduced appetite.  Short and long term human health effects are currently unknown.

In addition, pharmaceutical use in the general population is growing, so more unwanted drugs are generated and being improperly disposed and thus creating increased environmental concerns.

**Announcing Four New Locations to drop off Pharmaceuticals - May 2012**

San Pablo and Pinole Police Departments and the West County Wastewater District office are new drop-off locations for unwanted and expired home-generated pharmaceuticals.  These new convenient locations allow West Contra Costa County residents to properly dispose of old pharmaceuticals and keep them out of the water supply and garbage.  Controlled substances are not allowed in the collection bins per State and Federal Laws.

New Locations:

San Pablo Police Station: 13880 San Pablo Avenue, San Pablo
Pinole Police Station: 880 Tennent Avenue, Pinole
Richmond Police Station: 1701 Regatta Blvd, Richmond

West County Wastewater District Office: 2910 Hilltop Drive, Richmond


Other locations  accepting unwanted pharmaceuticals:
West County Permanent HHW Collection Facility:  101 Pittsburg Avenue, Richmond
El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center:  7501 Schmidt Lane, El Cerrito


For more information on visit the CalRecycle Pharmaceutical Drug Waste page or the EPA’s Pharmaceuticals page.