Household medication takeback
Interactive map of medication collection box locations
Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
Business wastes, including those generated in health care facilities, cannot be deposited in program kiosks.
Household needles/sharps takeback
Interactive map of sharps collection box locations
Interactive map of distributors of mail-in sharps containers
Handle with care! Skin punctures may transmit blood-borne infections.
- Kiosks located across Colorado (see interactive map for state locations)
- Sharps collection programs.
- Mail-in sharps containers (see interactive map for sharps containers). In addition, some pharmacies and websites sell sharps containers with mail-in labels, ensuring proper treatment and disposal. There is an added cost for this service.
- Proper trash disposal.
Proper trash disposal
- Use a sharps container purchased from a pharmacy or other source, or use a strong plastic container (HDPE plastic with #2 recycling symbol) with a screw-top lid. Used laundry detergent bottles work well. Never use paper or plastic milk jugs. They can puncture. Never use glass containers. They can break and make the hazard worse.
- Never put a container of sharps in with recyclables. Sharps are not recyclable and not only can they pose an infection risk to workers at recycling facilities, they can render whole batches of recyclables unusable.
- Used needles/sharps should never be placed loosely in the trash or flushed down the toilet.
- Containers of sharps should be clearly labeled as “Sharps” or "Biohazard Waste.”
- Once filled, the container should be firmly sealed (tape the lid) to prevent spillage.
- Store the sealed sharps container away from children and pets.
- Place the sealed sharps container in the trash on the day it gets picked up or taken to a landfill.
What if I can't access a collection site?
If you can’t access a permanent collection site, visit takemedsback.org to see if a collection event might be scheduled in your area. Mail-back envelopes or drug deactivation/disposal pouches can be purchased at some pharmacies. Ask your pharmacist for additional information. If none of these options are available, do not flush medications. Flushing can pollute water supplies. Follow the steps below for proper trash disposal.
Remove medications from their original containers and place in a zip-top bag or a sealable container with a secure lid (make sure you remove pill labels or cross out any identifying information and recycle or dispose the bottles separately).
Do not crush or attempt to dissolve pills and capsules.
Mix with something that can’t be eaten, like kitty litter or coffee grounds.
Wrap the bag or container in newspaper or a plain brown bag to conceal its contents.
Place it in your trash on the day it gets picked up or taken to a landfill.
Can I donate unused drugs for use by others?
followed, including prohibitions on prescribed controlled substances, refrigerated medications, and expired or soon-to-be expired medications. Wyoming’s Medication Donation Program and Iowa’s SafenetRx Program are two such programs available to Colorado residents.
The Colorado Medication and Sharps Takeback 2021 program report highlights the Colorado Household Medication and Sharps Takeback program collection results for fiscal year 2021. Results include the breakdown of the total pounds of household medications and sharps collected in the past year, in addition to the breakdown of collections per Colorado counties.
Can be accepted:
- Prescription medications, including prescribed controlled substances (DEA Schedule II– V).
- Over-the-counter medications.
- Liquid medications (small amounts in original, non-leaking containers).
- Medicated patches (Used Fentanyl and Duragesic® patches are extremely hazardous. They may be folded in half, sticky-side together, and flushed down the toilet.)
- Medication samples.
- Medicated ointments.
- Pet medications.
- Unused drug injection cartridges, e.g. unused EpiPens® and insulin pens (must be unused with needle still protected inside).
- Unused inhaler canisters, e.g. Advair®, Spiriva®, ProAir® and Ventolin® (must be unused, no empty canisters or unneeded plastic holders/mouth pieces).
Non-contact empty medical containers should be recycled, if possible. Check the lists of acceptable recyclables provided by your curbside recycling service or local recycling program. Non-recyclable items should be placed in household trash or taken to a landfill. Strike personal information (i.e. patient name and prescription number) from prescription pill bottles before recycling or trashing them.
Cannot be accepted:
- Illicit drugs (e.g. DEA Schedule I drugs like heroin, LSD, etc).
- Needles, syringes, and other sharps.
- Chemotherapy drugs.
- Medical tools and supplies.
- Bloody or infectious waste.
- Personal care products.
- Empty containers.
- Medication wastes generated by health care facilities, including nursing homes.
If you’ve undergone treatment with radioactive pharmaceuticals for a disease like thyroid cancer, some wastes you produce may be contaminated with residual radiation. Certain wastes may have to be temporarily stored before placing them out with your trash. You and your caregiver should closely follow instructions provided by your doctor about waste disposal.
Personal care products
Most personal care products can be disposed in the trash, but some local household hazardous waste programs may accept these products along with household cleaning products. Contact your local program directly, or contact your city/county government for program contact information.
Thermometers and other mercury containing devices
Some local household hazardous waste programs will accept thermometers and other mercury containing devices. Contact your local program directly, or contact your city/county government for program contact information.