Twenty to sixty percent of prescription medications go unused and are eventually disposed. Nearly all unused pharmaceuticals enter either our solid waste system or our sewage system. Neither disposal method is environmentally sound. Pharmaceuticals flushed down the toilet pass through our sewage treatment plants, which are generally not designed to screen for these chemicals. Pharmaceuticals discarded in landfills can seep into the surrounding water table. Several studies, including a 2002 analysis by the US Geological Survey of 139 streams across 30 states found that 80 percent of waterways tested had measurable concentrations of prescription and nonprescription drugs, steroids, and reproductive hormones.

The SafeChem program is a joint effort between local pharmacies, law enforcement, wastewater treatment facilities and Kent County to provide residents with safe, convenient access to proper medicine disposal. SafeChem participants include many local pharmacies and law enforcement agencies that will accept your unwanted medications.

Disposing of your medicines at one of these locations will ensure that your medicines will not be stolen from the garbage, will not enter our environment and eliminates the potential for abuse at home.


Department of Environmental Quality

Medical Waste Regulatory Program Information

Learn More

Kent County Sheriff’s Department
701 Ball Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Accepts ammunition and unneeded medication.

**Must be a Kent County resident to use this service.

Learn More

SafeMeds (formerly West Michigan Take Back Meds Program)

A listing of local pharmacies and law enforcement agencies accepting unwanted medications from residents for proper disposal.

Learn More

Related Materials