Pharmaceuticals

Most drug or pharmaceutical waste can be disposed of in your curbside garbage.


Step 1 - Keep the medication in its original container.


The labels may contain safety information and the caps are typically childproof. Leaving the content information clearly visible, scratch the patients name out or cover it with a permanent marker.

Step 2 - Modify the medications to discourage consumption.


For solid medications, such as pills or capsules:
add a small amount of water to at least partially dissolve them.

For liquid medications: add enough table salt, flour, charcoal, or nontoxic powdered spice, such as turmeric or mustard to make a pungent, unsightly mixture that discourages anyone from eating it.

For blister packs: wrap the blister packages containing pills in multiple layers of duct or other opaque tape.

Step 3 - Seal and conceal.


Tape the medication container lid shut with packing or duct tape, place it inside a non-transparent bag or container such as an empty yogurt or margarine tub to ensure that the contents cannot be seen.

Step 4 - Discard the container in your garbage - not recycling.


 Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Pharmaceutical Waste (272 KB)


Additionally, a prescription drug collection box is located at the Olmsted County Government Center inside the vestibule of the Adult Detention Center. This option for drop-off is available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. 

Acceptable Items in Government Center Collection Box

  • Prescriptions
  • Prescription Patches
  • Prescription Medications
  • Prescription Ointments
  • Over-the-county medications
  • Vitamins
  • Samples
  • Medications for pets

Not Acceptable in Government Center Collection Box

Search the following items in our Waste Wizard.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Thermometers 
  • Inhalers
  • Needles (sharps)
  • Medication from businesses
  • Non-prescription ointments/lotions/liquids