Unwanted Medicine and Household Hazardous Waste
 
 

Looking to do your part in helping protect our waterways? Help keep our drains drug free!

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) announced in 2016 that it will collect unwanted medicine at four locations. The 38-gallon Medsafe drug collection boxes will be housed at the MWRD’s Main Office Building, at 100 E. Erie St. in Chicago from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The boxes will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the MWRD’s Stickney, Calumet and O’Brien water reclamation plants (WRPs). The Stickney WRP is located at 6001 W. Pershing Rd., Cicero; Calumet is at 400 E. 130th St., Chicago; and O’Brien is at 3500 Howard St., Skokie. To read more about this new program, visit here.

Every day the average adult uses nine personal care products containing 126 unique compounds that could end up in our water. In addition, to traces of products like shampoo, toothpaste, perfume, sunscreens and cosmetics, minute amounts of prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs enter our water. The release of unused pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter and prescription drugs into the sanitary sewerage system has particularly harmful impact on our waterways. Whenever possible, it’s important to properly dispose of those products. Controlling what goes down the drain is the easiest and most effective way to protect the environment.

Pharmaceuticals entering the MWRD water reclamation plants (WRP) can navigate through the water treatment plants and enter Chicago Area Waterways, thus impacting the treatment plants, then fish and plant-life and our groundwater and waterways.

Working with the medical community, government agencies and the general public, the MWRD has sought ways to reduce the release of pharmaceutical waste into the environment and alert you at home not to flush unused medications down the drain, nor toss expired drugs in the garbage. Prevention today will lead to a safer tomorrow. Instead of tossing in the garbage or down the drain, you can visit household hazardous waste disposal events or participate in unused drug collection days.

There are many ways to reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals before they reach treatment facilities and/or the waterways. The first is to complete the course of treatment as prescribed by the physician. For over-the-counter products, monitor your supply and store them in one location at home to prevent the purchase of additional or extras. Once the pharmaceuticals are in your home, never pour them down the toilet or drain and never give or sell them to others. In addition to the Medsafe boxes the MWRD offers, the city of Chicago collects unwanted medicines 24 hour per day, seven days per week at all of its police facilities. For more information about pharmaceuticals in the waterways or to find out more about proper disposal of medical and hazardous wastes, visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/. As part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, the MWRD has collected nearly 1,000 pounds of drugs in recent years. If you can’t participate in a Drug Take-Back Day or make it into the MWRD facilities, there are still several locations that are open year-round.

See our list below or visit the following sites for more information:
http://www.swancc.org/residential-programs/pharmaceuticalsharps-disposal
http://www.epa.illinois.gov/index

Pharmaceutical Disposal Locations in Cook County
MWRD Main Office Building
100 E. Erie St., Chicago
(312) 751-6555
Monday through Friday:
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Stickney Water Reclamation Plant
6001 W. Pershing Rd., Cicero
(708) 588-3000
7 days/week:
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Calumet Water Reclamation Plant
400 E. 130th St., Chicago
(773) 256-3500
7 days/week:
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant
3500 Howard St., Skokie
(847) 568-8223
7 days/week:
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Arlington Heights Senior Center
1801 W. Central Rd.
(847) 253-5532
First Thursday of the month 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Markham Courthouse
Sheriff's Office
16501 S. Kedzie Ave.
(708) 232-4551
Monday through Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No liquid forms of medication accepted.
Barrington Public Safety Building
400 N. Northwest Hwy.
(847) 304-3300
7 days/week: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Maywood Courthouse
(Dropbox)
1500 Maybrook Dr.
(708) 865-6029
Monday through Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No liquid forms of medication accepted.
Bartlett Village Hall
228 S. Main St.
(630) 837-0800
Last Saturday of the month: 9 a.m. to noon
Sharps accepted, but must be deposited by individuals. Staff will not touch needles.
Morton Grove Civic Center
6140 Dempster St.
(847) 470-5223
Monday through Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Bridgeview Courthouse
(Dropbox)
10220 S. 76th Ave.
(708) 974-6810
Monday through Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No liquid forms of medication accepted.
Mount Prospect
Public Works
1700 W. Central Rd.
(847) 870-5640
Monday through Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Original containers with labels, no narcotics.
Brookfield Village Hall
Police Station
8820 Brookfield Ave.
(708) 485-7344
Open 24/7.
Niles Police Department
(Dropbox)
7000 W. Touhy Ave.
Niles, IL 60714
(847) 588-6500
Medications only: Open 24/7.
No syringes.

Buffalo Grove Village Hall
Health Department
50 Raupp Blvd.
(847) 459-2530
Monday: 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Niles
Senior Center
999 Civic Center Dr.
(847) 588-8442
Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Burr Ridge Police Station
7700 County Line Rd.
(630) 654-8181
Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
No sharps or radioactive medications accepted, pills only in one zip lock bag.
Northbrook
Dundee Pharmacy
2750 Dundee Rd., Suite 9
(847) 480-1000
Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.,
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Prescription drugs only, no controlled substances.
Chicago Household Chemical & Computer Recycling Facility
1150 N. North Branch St.
(312) 744-7672
Tuesdays: 7 a.m. to noon,
Thursdays: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and
first Saturday of the month: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Northbrook Police Department
1401 Landwehr Rd.
(847) 564-2060
Open 24/7.
Northbrook residents only.
Chicago
Lawndale Christian Health Center
3860 W. Ogden Ave.
(773) 843-3000
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Non-controlled substances only
Oak Brook Police Department
1200 Oak Brook Rd.
(630) 368-8700
Open 24/7. 
Chicago
Well Future Pharmacy, LLC
1442 S. Michigan Ave.
(312) 589-7620
Monday through Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Current customers only.

Oak Lawn
Barcus Pharmacy
4708 W. 103rd St.
(708) 425-2400
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.,
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
No liquids over 4-ozs., no sharp or radioactive items.
Chicago Police Department
All Chicago police facilities are accepting unwanted medicines.
For more information, call 311 or visit www.cityofchicago.org
Oak Lawn Village Hall
9446 S. Raymond Ave.
(708) 636-4400
Call for specific days and times.
Chicago
George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building
(Dropbox)
2650 S. California Ave.
(773) 674-3275
Monday through Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No liquid forms of medication accepted.
Oak Park Police Department
(Dropbox)
123 Madison St.
(708) 383-6400
Open 24/7.
Elgin Police Department
(Dropbox)
154 Douglas St.
(847) 289-2700
7 days/week: 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Palatine Village Hall
Environmental Health Division
200 E. Wood St.
(847) 359-9090
Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Residential only, no controlled substance.
Elk Grove Village Municipal Complex
Fire Administration Building
901 Wellington Ave.
(847) 357-4202
Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Palos Heights City Hall
7607 W. College Dr.
(708) 361-1800
Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Elmhurst Police Department
(Dropbox)
125 E. First St.
(630) 530-3050
Open 24/7.
Park Ridge City Hall
Health Department
505 Butler Pl.
(847) 318-5291
First Thursday of the month: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Elmwood Park Public Safety Building
7420 Fullerton Ave.
(708) 453-2137
Open 24/7.
No sharps or liquid forms of medication accepted.
 
Prospect Heights
City Hall
8 N. Elmhurst Rd.
(847) 398-6070, ext. 206
Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Evanston Police Department
(Dropbox)
1454 Elmwood Ave.
(847) 866-5000
Open 24/7.
Rolling Meadows
Public Works
3900 Berdnick St.
(847) 870-2884
Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Evanston -- St. Francis Hospital Pharmacy
(Dropbox)
800 Austin St.
(847) 316-2372
Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (excluding 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.)
Non-controlled substances only.
Rolling Meadows Courthouse
(Dropbox)
2121 W. Euclid Ave.
(847) 818-2810
Monday through Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No liquid forms of medication accepted.
Glencoe Village Hall
Police Department
325 Hazel Ave.
(847) 835-4112
Wednesday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Schaumburg Police Department
1000 W. Schaumburg Rd.
(847) 882-3534
Open 24/7.
Glenview — Inspectional Services Annex
2500 E. Lake Ave.
South of Glenview Village Hall
(847) 904-4340
First Friday of the month: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If the first Friday falls on a holiday, the collection will be moved the following Friday.
Skokie Courthouse
(Dropbox)
5600 Old Orchard Rd.
(847) 470-7280
Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No liquid forms of medication accepted.

Hoffman Estates Department of Health & Human Services
1900 Hassell Rd.
SE Entrance of Village Hall
(847) 882-9100
First Wednesday of the month: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Skokie Village Hall
Health Department
5127 Oakton St.
(847) 933-8252
Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Narcotic medications, controlled substances, and over-the-counter liquids are not accepted.
Inverness — Palatine Rural Fire Station #36
35 N. Ela Rd
(847) 991-8700
Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Streamwood Fire Department
Fire Station 33
1095 E. Schaumburg Rd.
(630) 213-6300
Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.,
1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Narcotic medications and controlled substances not accepted.
Kenilworth Police Department
419 Richmond Rd.
(847) 251-2141
Monday through Friday: 24 hours.
Tinley Park Police Department
(Dropbox)
7850 W. 183rd St.
(708) 532-9111
Open 24/7.
La Grange Police Department
304 W. Burlington Ave.
(708) 579-2334
Open 24/7.
Westchester Village Hall
10300 W. Roosevelt Rd.
(708) 345-0020
7 days/week: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
La Grange Park Police Department
(Dropbox)
447 N. Catherine Ave.
(708) 352-2151
Open 24/7.
Wheeling Village Hall
Police Department
1 Community Blvd.
(847) 499-9045
Third Saturday of the month: 10 a.m. to noon.
Lemont Police Department
14600 127th St.
(630) 257-2229
Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wilmette Police Station
(Dropbox)
710 Ridge Rd.
(847) 256-1200
Open 24/7.
Medications only, no needles.

Winnetka Fire Department 428 Green Bay Rd.
(847) 501-6029
Medications: Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sharps: Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In 2016, Walgreens announced it would be collecting unwanted drugs at select Illinois sites. For more information, visit here.

Tips for dropping off your medications:

Always call before dropping off medications. You may want to:

  • Confirm the days and hours of operation

  • Ask if the program accepts controlled and non-controlled substances

  • Ask if the program accepts sharps

  • If planning to drop off medications at a site in a municipality other than where you live, ask if the program is available to non-residents

  • Ask if the program does NOT accept any kinds of medications (e.g., liquids, ointments, cancer treatment drugs, etc.)

  • Ask if there are any other requirements for dropping off medications

Additional tips for dropping off medications:

  • Unless otherwise specified, use original prescription containers and use permanent marker to mark out your name and personal information.

  • Take medications to the collection site ONLY during the drop-off site’s open hours of operation.

  • Please follow direction at the drop-off site carefully. Only give medications to personnel at the drop-off site.

  • These are NOT share or reuse opportunities. All medications received will be destroyed in an environmentally responsible manner.

Please notify the MWRD of any collection updates by emailing public.affairs@mwrd.org.

To download the list of Cook County locations (pdf): click here.

Updated 2.9.17


What is Household Hazardous Waste?

Leftover products in your home that contain ingredients that are toxic, flammable, or could cause a dangerous reaction when mixed with other chemicals or eat away at solid objects are household hazardous wastes.

What are Some Examples of Household Hazardous Waste?

Anti-freeze, drain cleaners, fluorescent bulbs, fuels, weed killers, furniture strippers, household batteries, household cleaning products, insecticides, medicines, mercury, metal polishes, oil-based paints, paint removers, pool chemicals, thermostats and used oils are all household hazardous wastes.

Why Can’t Household Hazardous Wastes Simply be Thrown Away?

These products can pollute the environment and can make people sick if they are disposed of improperly.  They should not be poured down the drain, on the ground or into storm sewers.  They also should not be thrown into the trash like regular garbage.

How Can Household Hazardous Wastes be Safely Disposed?

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency schedule for collections in Illinois

City of Chicago Long-term collection facility

To report illegal hazardous waste dumping please call 1-800-332-DUMP.