Medicine and Prescription Drugs

Alternative ways to recycle
Illegal in Garbage & Drains
Hazardous Waste Special Instructions

FREE Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and Mattress Collection Event (Hercules, CA) – ONE DAY ONLY!

Saturday, June 22, 2024

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FREE Drop-off at HHW facility

West Contra Costa residents may drop-off unwanted or old medicine and pharmaceuticals for free at the West County HHW Collection Facility. No controlled substances will be accepted.

Please follow these directions for drop-off:

  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.

Drop-Off Locations

  • Pinole Police Station: 880 Tennent Avenue, Pinole
  • Richmond Police Station: 1701 Regatta Blvd, Richmond
  • West County Wastewater District Office: 2910 Hilltop Drive, Richmond
  • West County Permanent HHW Collection Facility: 101 Pittsburg Avenue, Richmond
  • El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center: 7501 Schmidt Lane, El Cerrito

For more information, visit the CalRecycle Pharmaceutical Drug Waste page.

NOTE: No controlled substances will be accepted at the HHW collection facility or in the drop-off bins.

It is illegal for collection facilities to accept certain prescription medications known as “controlled substances”. These are drugs that have a potential for addiction and/or abuse such as narcotics and tranquilizers. Common controlled substances include codeine, phenobarbitol, and anabolic steroids.

Information on controlled substances disposal is provided by the DEA Call Center – call (800) 882-9539. The DEA Sponsors a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day twice a year (usually in April and October).

For a complete list of controlled substances visit the Federal DEA list of controlled substances.


Don’t Flush Down the Toilet

Drugs dissolve when they are flushed down the toilet and can contaminate drinking water sources.


Always Scratch Out Personal Information

To protect your identity and privacy, scratch out any identifying information before disposing of empty or filled containers. Any empty bottles can be thrown in the trash.

Alternative Ways to Recycle


Give to a DEA-Authorized Collector

Some pharmacies and law enforcement offices are registered with the DEA as authorized drug collectors. You can drop-off unused or unwanted drugs at these locations. Find a DEA-authorized disposal location.

walgreens logo

Walgreens Safe Medication Disposal Program

Select Walgreens locations now have kiosks for safe medication disposal. Find a kiosk here.


National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Each April and October the DEA hosts a nationwide drug take back day. Find a drop off location and the date of the next take back day.


Pill Bottle Donation

Donate empty plastic pill bottles to Matthew 25: Ministries for inclusion in shipments of medical supplies and for shredding and recycling.

Ways to Reuse

Repurpose Empty Pill Bottles

Put empty pill bottles to good use by repurposing them as travel containers and organizers for items such as cotton swabs, bobby pins, spare buttons, mini sewing kits, jewelry, coins, earbuds, and other knickknacks and supplies.

Did You Know?

Don't Rush to Flush Unwanted Medications - English Video

Don't Rush to Flush Unwanted Medications - Spanish Video