Medication Collection

Volunteers Needed for the Medication Collection


Never flush medications – water treatment plants cannot detect nor remove medications!

Suggestions for Sharps/Needle disposal

Proper Disposal Is Important Because…

  • 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.
  • 90% of consumers improperly dispose of unused medicine down the toilet or in the trash

Plus these partners, donors and nearly 100 volunteers.

23 WIFR Gray Television
RK Dixon
100FM Rockford’s Greatest Hits
Great Lakes Coca-Cola
Practice Velocity
SwedishAmerican, a division of UW Health
Mercyhealth Winnebago Clinic
The Rock River Times
UIC College of Pharmacy at Rockford
Winnebago County Health Department
Ringland-Johnson Construction
Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department
Village of Winnebago Police Department
South Beloit Fire Department
 Sugar Jones
South Beloit Police Department
Village of Machesney Park


The Household Hazardous Waste site at 3333 Kishwaukee Street, Rockford will accept Insulin for disposal (but no needles, sharps or other medication), aerosol cans and thermometers containing mercury. The following items are NOT accepted at any of the following sites:

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.

City of Rockford Police District Station Lobbys (Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays)

Prescription pharmaceuticals may also be disposed of for free in a 24-hour secure drop box located in the lobby of each Rockford Police Department District station listed below. Citizens may drop off up to one, 1-gallon bag per visit, once a week. For these locations, medications should be removed from the original container and placed in a clear, self-closing disposable bag, provided by the citizen disposing the medication.

  • District 1 – 1045 W. State Street
  • District 2 – 1410 Broadway
  • District 3 (Administration Headquarters) – 557 S. New Towne Drive

Rockton Police Department Between double doors of Rockton Village Hall 110 E. Main Street., Rockton IL 61072 24-hour secured drop box. South Beloit Police Department 519 Blackhawk Blvd (IL 2) South Beloit IL 61080 “Office” Hours Only Certain Walgreens Pharmacies: Rockford – 2323 Charles St. (open 24 hours) Roscoe – 5065 Hononegah Road (store hours)

Further Education on Medication Disposal

Medication Disposal “Don’ts”

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

Medication Disposal How-Tos

  1. Take your unused/unwanted/expired medications to a Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Medication Collection location for the annual drive. The 2017 event was held September 16 at three locations. Watch for date/place for 2018 collection.
  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.

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 all the medication as prescribed by your physician.
  2. Centralize all medications, including over-the-counter products, in one location in your home, secure from children and pets. This may also help 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