We now know pharmaceutical drugs cannot be fully removed by traditional wastewater treatment. Flushing expired or unwanted medicines down the toilet can harm the San Francisco Bay. The best way to safely get rid of your expired and unwanted medicines is to discard them at a designated collection site.
Flushing expired or unwanted medicines down the toilet can harm the San Francisco Bay.
No le dé drogas a la Bahía. Obtenga información sobre cómo deshacerse en forma segura de los medicamentos que ya no necesita.
Thank you for doing your part to protect the Bay.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the disposal sites for unwanted drugs and medicines?
What types of medicines can go into the disposal bins?
- Unused and expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications (UC Berkeley Tang Center Pharmacy is the only EBMUD-sponsored site accepting controlled substances.)
- Pet medicines
- Prescription strength liquids and creams
How do I use the disposal bin?
- Pills/capsules: take them out of their plastic bottles and put the medicines in a plastic zipper bag; recycle the plastic pill bottles at home.
- Liquid medication: block out your personal information on the container; leave the medication in the original container and put in a leak-proof plastic bag.
- Drop the bagged medicines into the disposal bin.
What can't go into the disposal bins?
- Controlled substances (12k pdf) should be taken to the UC Berkeley Tang Center Pharmacy or these other locations.
- Vitamins and supplements can be safely disposed of in regular trash.
- Thermometers, needles, sharps.
- IV bags, infectious waste.
- Medications from businesses or clinics (the bins are for residents).
Why is EBMUD doing this?
Because not all the ingredients in prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines are removed during wastewater treatment, medicines can find their way to the Bay where they pose a risk to aquatic life. The disposal bins help to keep pharmaceutical waste out of the wastewater treatment process in the first place and are a safer alternative to dumping them down the drain.
Since EBMUD's pharmaceutical disposal program began in 2009, we have collected more than sixteen tons of expired medications from East Bay residents.
Who pays for this program?
Alameda Police Station
Albany Senior Center
Berkeley Transfer Station
UC Berkeley Tang Center Pharmacy
Emeryville Senior Center
Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste*
EBMUD Administration Building Lobby
Elihu Harris State Building Lobby
Oakland Fire Department