NOTICE 4/5/2024 @ 7:30am: North Kent Waste & Recycling Center is in the final stretch of its expansion construction. Our recycling drop-off stations at this site have been temporarily moved — click here for the details. Stay tuned here on our website or our social media for updates!

Medication – prescription and over-the-counter

How can Kent County Department of Public Works help?

Explore the waste stream options below for how you can reuse, recycle, compost, or dispose of the item you are trying to get rid of through a KCDPW facility or service.

Donate or Reuse
Special Collection Recycling
Proper Disposal

Depending on the type of medication, there are Community Disposal Outlets listed below that can repurpose some products, like insulin (sealed, refrigerated, unexpired).

Prescription medication should never be shared and should never be consumed without your doctor’s approval.

Medication should never be composted.

Medication, pharmaceuticals, and hygiene products should not go in your curbside single-stream recycling cart as those products can leak onto other recyclables and contaminate them.

HOWEVER, empty pill bottles and containers can be placed in your recycling cart to be recycled. Labels are okay to stay but you can use a marker to black out your information to ensure confidentiality.

Special Collection Recycling does not apply to medication disposal.

Responsibly disposing of your unwanted or expired medicines at a FREE, participating SafeMeds Drop-Off location will prevent drug abuse, overdose, and environmental damage. The link above can provide you with types of medication accepted and where to participate.

DO NOT flush any medication down the toilet/drain or throw medication in the trash as it could have detrimental impacts on public and environmental health.

No commercial medication waste from businesses, schools, non-profits, etc. — strictly residential hazardous waste. See the Community Disposal Outlets below for commercial medication waste solutions.

Improper disposal of pharmaceuticals and medication, including tossing them into the trash, can to lead to a variety of severe problems for our community members and the environment surrounding us. These problems include but are not limited to prescription drug abuse/addiction, overdose, death, contamination of our waterways, additional clean-up and processing costs for municipalities, and overall poor human and environmental health. Only by disposing of these medications properly, can we keep our friends, family, community, and environment safe.

Community Resources

Below you will find businesses and community outlets that may accept this item/material.

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