Disposal of Medicine and Medical Waste
Storing unwanted and expired medications at home presents a risk for drug abuse or overdose for consumers as well as children and pets. On the other hand, improper drug disposal can contaminate soil and water, if people trash or flush pharmaceuticals down the sink or drain.
The City of Fort Worth suggests the following disposal options for expired, unused and unwanted over-the-counter and prescription (controlled and non-controlled) drugs:
- Single Day Collection Events – Typically in the spring and fall, the Fort Worth utility bill will include information on single day drug collection events happening throughout Fort Worth. Visit the Department of Justice website to find a drug take back day happening near you.
- Pharmacy Drug Take Back Programs – Some pharmacies offer a mail-in system through which residents can safely dispose of unwanted medications. Check with your local drug store to see if they carry drug mail back envelopes for sale.
- UNT Health Science Center Drug Take Back Box in the Lobby of the campus Police Department, 3600 Mattison Ave., is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Trash – Although not encouraged and only if you are unable to participate in any of the above mentioned programs, follow these steps to dispose of medication in the household trash.
- Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or open capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as coffee grounds, cat litter or cottage cheese.
- Place the mixture in a sealed container or plastic bag.
- Throw the container in the appropriate trash bin.
- Flushing of medicines down the toilet or drain is not allowed as a disposal method as it can potentially contaminate our water sources.
- The Fort Worth Police Department’s medicine collection program has ended. The City of Fort Worth and other area stakeholders are working to increase permanent drug collection opportunities for residents. Call 817-392-1234 with questions.
Sharps (needles, syringes, lancets)
Before throwing away sharps in a trash receptacle, place them in a sharps disposal container or hard plastic/metal with a tightly-secured lid (detergent bottles with screw-on lids or a coffee can). When possible, break off syringe needles to prevent reuse.
General Medical Waste
Place IV bags, plastic tubing and similar medical equipment in plastic garbage bags and throw them away in trash receptacle. These items are not recyclable, whether they have been used or not.
Report an issue by phone:
The call center is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
Get collection reminders and look up how to dispose of waste on your smartphone with the new City of Fort Worth Garbage & Recycling app.
City of Fort Worth curbside garbage and recycling services are provided by Waste Management and Knight Waste Services.