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Disposal (Medicines & Sharps)

Medicines Disposal

Did you know that more than four in ten teens who have misused or abused a prescription drug has taken it right out of their parents' medicine cabinet? Proper disposal of medication can prevent prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings of children and pets, and keep medicines from polluting streams and rivers.

The best way to dispose of unused, unwanted, excess or expired prescription and over-the-counter medication is to take it to an official collection site. Permanent collection units are available at the following locations:

In addition, semi-annual Drug Take Back Events are conducted in partnership with the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

If you are unable to access a safe disposal site follow these steps for disposal in household garbage:

  1. Take the medication out of the original containers.
  2. Mix medicines with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds or cat litter.
  3. Put the mixture into a disposable container such as a margarine tub or ziploc bag.
  4. Conceal any personal information by covering it with permanent marker or tape.
  5. Seal the container and place it in the trash.

Sharps Disposal

As of July 1, 2012, a statewide ban on the disposal of needles, syringes and lancets (referred to collectively as "sharps") in household trash took effect. Residents can no longer dispose of these items through the household trash. According to state law 105 CMR 480, it is illegal to dispose of sharps, as well as unopened packages of hypodermic needles and lancets, by throwing them in the trash. The best way to dispose of sharps is to place them in a designated sharps container marked with the universal biohazard warning symbol and drop them off at one of the following:

Worcester Yellow Box Locations

Additional Disposal Locations

Needles must be in a puncture-proof container; no loose needles. In addition, "sharps" can be disposed of during Household Hazardous Waste Day events held occasionally during the year by the Department of Public Works & Parks.

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