Dose of Reality: Safe Disposal of Medications and Medical Supplies

Safely disposing of unused and unwanted medications and used medical supplies helps protect the people around you and your environment. There are many safe disposal options available to everyone throughout Wisconsin. 

How to dispose of unused and unwanted medications

Keeping unused and unwanted medications around the house can be dangerous. If these medications fall into the wrong hands or are taken by mistake, there can be severe consequences. Keep your household safe and make it a habit to safely dispose of medications you no longer need.

Orange bottles on a shelf

Drug Take Back Day

The Wisconsin Department of Justice coordinates two drug take back days each year throughout the state. The next Drug Take Back Day will take place in April 2022. Find a location near you.

Drug disposal box

Permanent Drug Drop Boxes

Permanent drug drop boxes are open year-round and can be found at hospitals, pharmacies, police departments, and other community locations. Find a box near you.

Do not flush or drain unused and unwanted medications

Unused and unwanted prescription medications should never be flushed down a toilet or poured down a drain. They can contaminate our water supply.


How to dispose of medical supplies

Improper disposal of needles, syringes, and lancets can cause injuries and lead to the spread of infectious diseases. Properly dispose of your supplies by:

  • Identifying a puncture-resistant container for your sharps. Immediately after use, place your items into this container. This will reduce the risk of needle sticks or cuts from loose items.
  • Writing or placing a label on the sharps container. Be sure to clearly label the container “biohazard,” “household sharps,” “infectious waste,” or with the biohazard emblem. If placed in a container that would otherwise be recyclable, label it “do not recycle.”
  • Sealing the container and taking it to a sharps collection site. Once the container is full, make sure it is tightly sealed and secured with tape. Take it to a sharps collection site near you. If you cannot dispose of the container immediately, make sure to store it out of reach of children.
Last Revised: November 5, 2021