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Safe Drug Disposal


Leftover and other unwanted medications can get into the hands of minors which may lead to accidental poisonings or intentional misuse. Unwanted medications sometimes they are improperly disposed of in the trash or down the toilet. This can cause environmental problems in the soil and water systems. In order to take a proactive approach in facilitating the proper disposal of unwanted medication, Contra Costa County passed 418-16 for Safe Drug Disposal in 2016.

The Safe Drug Disposal ordinance ensures producers of pharmaceutical drugs implement a safe drug disposal stewardship plan. Stewardship programs may be run by individual producers, together with other producers or by a stewardship organization that is designated by the producer(s). Stewardship plans must be submitted for review to Contra Costa Environmental Health (CCEH). If the stewardship plan satisfies conditions in Safe Drug Disposal ordinance the plan will be approved for operation.

The stewardship plan must provide free easily accessible disposal options for residents of unincorporated Contra Costa County. Disposal options include drop off kiosks, mail back services, and take back events. Public use of these disposal methods will reduce the number of unwanted drugs that are disposed of properly.

Stewardship programs provide multiple avenues for free safe disposal of unwanted drugs. Resources for locating safe drug disposal options are listed below. Additionally, residents may speak with their local law enforcement agency or local pharmacy for safe drug disposal options.

  • Drop-off Kiosks
    Drop-off kiosks are another option for the public to dispose of unwanted medications. Drop-off Kiosks are typically secured self-service receptacles, located inside a host facility, and are accessible during the normal business hours of the host facility. Host facilities usually include law enforcement buildings, pharmacies, and hospitals but could also be in additional locations.
  • Mail-back Services
    Free Mail-Back services are available to county residents who are disabled, homebound, or when at least 3 drug kiosks have not been established in each supervisorial district in Contra Costa County.
  • Drug Take-Back Events
    Take back events are advertised locally and held at temporary locations based on days and hours of operation that are selected by the program coordinating the event.

Information about drop-off kiosk locations, requesting mail-back services and locating scheduled Drug Take-Back Events can be found using the resources below:


List of Approved Stewardship Organizations in Contra Costa County

Some producers have designated the following stewardship organizations to implement, develop, operate the drug kiosks, mail-back services and take back events on their behalf. Contra Costa County has approved stewardship plans submitted by the following organizations: