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medicine & sharps disposal

Medical Disposal 

Prescription medication can be dropped off at the Township Police Department anytime. All medication must be in a sealed container in a ziplock bag. No needles or over the counter medications. 

Managing Unused and Expired Medications

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) refer in general, to any product used by individuals for personal health or cosmetic reasons.  PPCPs include a wide variety of chemical substances, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, veterinary drugs, cosmetics, and vitamins.  Individuals add PPCPs to the environment through the disposal of unwanted medications by flushing unused and/or expired medicine down the toilet.  These pharmaceutical byproducts are found, at some level, in any waterbody that is influenced by raw or treated sewage.

Risk to humans and other organisms

The risks posed to aquatic organisms and to humans are unknown. This is largely due to low concentrations levels of PPCPs found in the environment. There are no known health effects from the low-levels found in drinking water.

Residential Drug Disposal

Medical Capsule with Globe designResidents are encouraged to follow the disposal instructions included with the medication or on its label and to take advantage of pharmaceutical take-back programs. 

If discarding unwanted medications at home, following these simple steps will ensure environmentally responsible and safe disposal. To protect yourself and others, always keep prescription drugs in their original container and scratch off or black out personal information to make it unreadable.

To prepare pharmaceuticals for proper disposal, please follow the directions below:

  • For solid medications (e.g. pills or capsules): add a small amount of water to partially dissolve them and seal the container with duct tape.
  • For liquid medications: add a substance such as table salt, coffee or kitty litter to deter anyone from using the medication and seal the container with duct tape.
  • For blister packs: wrap the blister packs in multiple layers of duct tape.
  • For sharps disposal: place used and discarded needles in a sharps disposal container to protect against accidental injection. Disposal containers are available at most pharmacies.
  • Unused ampules, vials, and IV bags:  These items should not be opened, wrap in duct tape and placed in an opaque container such as an empty coffee tin or empty detergent container (clearly mark container as ‘Not Recyclable’) and place in trash.

Medical Sharps

Used and discarded needles should be placed in a specified sharps container which are available at most pharmacies or any puncture proof container, such as an empty detergent bottle or coffee can. Regulations do allow sharps to be placed in the household trash if placed in proper containers and sealed to prevent injury to others. Container should be clearly marked MEDICAL SHARPS. Sharps should never be thrown loosely into the trash or toilet and sharps should never be recycled.  

Additional Information

Please contact the Bloomfield Township Engineering and Environmental Services Department if you have questions about the material presented here. For more information on how you can properly dispose of unwanted medications and/or sharps, please visit the following websites:

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
DEQ Medical Waste Program
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency PPCP Site
Sharps Disposal Information

For potential alternate resources for the disposal of these and many other items check out the 2008 ARC Resource Recovery Guide.

Updated: August 2019