Trash & Recycling


Pharmaceuticals are prescribed or over-the-counter drugs and medications used for the medical treatment of people and animals.

In the past, people have been instructed to flush medication down the toilet to prevent harm to children and animals. Flushing is no longer the recommended disposal method; it can have adverse effects on our environment.

By providing alternative disposal methods, these potentially dangerous prescription drugs, particularly controlled substances, are being removed from our nation’s medicine cabinets and waterways. This addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.

Trashing medicine is a better option than flushing. However, precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of children and animals.

Upcoming Events: The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency has developed a National Take Back Initiative with scheduled Take Back Days. For details please, Click Here. Sharps will NOT be accepted at the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. For proper disposal, please visit the Sharps Disposal page.

No Drugs Down the Drain

red liquid medication poured into cup to be taken

Liquid Medication

Empty liquid medication onto absorbent paper towels or rags and dispose of with regular trash
blue inhaler laying on its side

Propellant Inhaler

Empty container by expelling all propellant. Dispose of small empty cylinder in trash.
hundreds of assorted colorful pills


Capsules and tablets should be made unusable and unattractive by wetting, breaking, and crushing. The remains should be placed in the original childproof container with all your personal information removed, sealed with tape and tossed in the trash. Or, another option is to mix the medication with decaying food, used coffee grounds, or kitty litter for disposal with your household trash.

The City of Riverside partners with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) twice a year to collect unused or expired medication for proper disposal. Click here for more information on upcoming Drug Take Back Days.

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