Medication Disposal Collection


 2017 Collection

September 16

Locations, Times TBA


Help stop accidental poisonings, addiction and water pollution.

Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful organizes an annual, free drive-up dropoff collection of unused or expired prescription, over-the-counter or pet medication, including creams, liquids, inhalers and mercury thermometers for safe disposal.

No shaNo Sharpsrps/needles or illegal drugs accepted.

Suggestions for Sharps/Needle disposal

Never flush medications.

Proper Disposal Is Important Because…

  • 90% of consumers improperly dispose of unused medicine down the toilet or in the trash
  • Prescription medicine is the number one source of drugs improperly/illegally used by teenagers and older adults
  • 78,000 children per year under age five are treated for accidental medication poisoning in the U.S.
  • 80% of water samples contained residues of prescription and non-prescription drugs, according to a U.S. Geological Survey test of 139 streams across 30 states.

 Disposal Dos and Don’ts


  1. Take your unused/unwanted/expired medications to a Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Medication Collection location.
  2. Use a permanent marker to black out your name and personal information on a prescription label, leaving medication information legible.
  3. Please follow directions at the drop-off site. Only give medications to authorized personnel.
  4. Leave all medications in original packaging.
  5. If you must dispose of medications other times of year, please use proper mail-back containers available at pharmacies or take to other local drop-points listed below.


  1. Flush down the sink drain or toilet.
  2. Place in the trash.
  3. Give or sell to others.
  4. Bury in the ground.


The Rock River Water Reclamation District

and these additional partnering sponsors made this community service possible in 2016:

23 WIFR Gray Television
Mid-West Family Broadcasting
City of South Beloit
Aqua-Aerobic Systems, Inc.
North Park Public Water District
SwedishAmerican, a division of UW Health
Belvidere Township
Oak Street Health
University of Illinois College of Pharmacy at Rockford
Boone County Soil & Water Conservation District
OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center
Village of Winnebago
Greenlee, A Textron Company
RK Dixon
Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department
Illinois American Water
The Rock River Times
Winnebago County Health Department
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Donate Now 3


The Household Hazardous Waste site at 3333 Kishwaukee Street, Rockford will accept Insulin for disposal (but no needles, sharps or other medication).

The following items are NOT accepted at any of the following sites:

Rockton Police Department
Between double doors of Rockton Village Hall

110 E. Main Street., Rockton IL 61072
24-hour secured drop box.
Info:  Non-Emergency Police Department phone: 815-624-8881

South Beloit Police Department
519 Blackhawk Blvd (IL 2)
South Beloit IL 61080
Business Hours:  Non-Emergency Police Department phone: 815-389-3491

Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department:
Winnebago County Justice Center Lobby
650 West State St., Rockford IL 61102

24-hour secured drop box.

Belvidere-Boone County Public Safety Building Lobby

615 North Main St., Belvidere IL 61008

24-hour secured drop box.

More You Should Know

Why Is Medicine Disposal A Concern?

The three main hazards are:

  1. Possible poisoning from accidental ingestion, particularly among young children and pets, if medicines are thrown in the trash.
  2. Illegal use or theft, including identity theft, from discarded containers providing personal patient information.
  3. Contamination of water resources, which can result in reproductive and developmental problems in fish and other aquatic wildlife if medicines are flushed or placed in the trash.

How Do Pharmaceuticals Enter The Environment?

Pharmaceuticals have been found primarily in discharge from wastewater treatment plants and surface waters. Pharmaceuticals are also released into waterways via runoff from commercial animal feeding operations and aquaculture, and from fields where manure and biosolids have been applied.

How Can Medications Impact The Environment?

Expired or unwanted medicines, if flushed down the toilet or drain, are a source of pollution in wastewater. Because sewage treatment plants are not designed to deal with drugs, these chemicals can be released into streams, lakes, and groundwater and affect fish and other aquatic wildlife.

You might imagine that any substance safe enough for humans and pets to ingest as medication can’t cause environmental harm. But that may not be the case. If our medicines are reaching streams, rivers, and lakes, organisms living in these habitats may be continuously exposed to these drugs. Some aquatic organisms living in waters downstream from wastewater treatment plants are showing signs of developmental and reproductive problems. Researchers are working to determine whether pharmaceuticals are causing these effects.

How Can I Reduce The Quantity Of Unwanted Medications In My Home?

  1. Purchase only as much as you need and take the medication as prescribed by your physician.
  2. Centralize all medications in one location secured from children and pets. This may help to limit inadvertent over-purchasing of products you already have.
  3. In order to preserve the quality of your medicines, store medications at proper temperature and humidity as recommended on the label. This is sometimes NOT in the bathroom medicine cabinet.
  4. Say “no” to physician samples if you are not going to use them.

Other Resources