Drug Disposal

Controlled Substances: How to Properly Manage & Dispose of controlled substances.

The Kensington Police Department participates in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative headed by the DEA. Typically, the DEA will organize two drug take back events each year where residents can bring unused medications, hypodermic needles, and controlled substances to the department and we will have them disposed of properly. These take back events will be posted on the Latest News section of this website once the DEA announces the date. While you can bring pharmaceuticals and sharps to the DEA Drug Take Back Events, you MAY NOT bring controlled substances to any of the pharmaceutical drop off locations listed below.

Pharmaceuticals: How to Properly Manage & Dispose of Unwanted or Expired Medications.

  1. DO NOT pour medications down the drain or flush down the toilet.
  2. Pour pills out of bottle and place in a sealed plastic baggy.
  3. Liquids should be left in original container and placed in a sealed plastic baggy.
  4. DO NOT dispose of syringes or needles with medications. See instructions for sharps below.

Sharps: How to Properly Manage & Dispose of Sharps, Syringes & Needles

  1. Sharps should be placed into an approved* container immediately after use (do not overfill).
  2. Do not attempt to remove, bend, break or recap the needle.
  3. Keep all sharps and disposal containers out of reach of children.
  4. DO NOT place used needles, syringes or lancets in the garbage or recycling containers.
  5. DO NOT flush down the toilet.
  6. Bring your filled approved sharps container to the locations listed below or on the list of west county Drop Off locations.

Note: Sorry, but NO IV supplies including tubing or chemo waste accepted

* Approved Sharps Containers

The FDA recommends that used needles and other sharps be placed in FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers. FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are generally available through pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers, and online in addition to limited supplies available at the El Cerrito & North Richmond facilities listed below.

Bring your sealed plastic baggies to the locations listed below or other approved sites:

Permanent Contra Costa County Take-Back Locations for Pharmaceuticals and Sharps (no controlled substances):

West Contra Costa HHW Resource Recovery
101 Pittsburg Avenue, Richmond

El Cerrito: Sharps & Medicines
El Cerrito Recycling and Environmental Resource Center
7501 Schmidt Lane
Drop-off hours are Monday – Friday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am to 4:45pm

El Sobrante: Sharps Kiosk & Medicine Kiosk
Park Pharmacy
3716 San Pablo Dam Road
Drop-off hours are M-F 9am-6pm; Sat 9am-4pm; Sun 10am-3pm

Hercules: Sharps Kiosk & Medicine Kiosk
Hercules City Hall
111 Civic Drive
24 hour drop-off bins located outside of main entrance

North Richmond: Sharps & Medicines
Sharps & Medicines
West County HHW Collection Facility
101 Pittsburg Avenue
Drop-off hours are TH, F & Sat 9am to 4 pm, closed from 12 to 12:30

Pinole: Sharps Kiosk & Medicine Kiosk
Pinole Police Station
880 Tenant Avenue
Lobby hours are M-F 8am-5pm

Richmond: Senior Center: Sharps Kiosk Only
2525 MacDonald Avenue
Drop-off hours are M-F 8:30am-5pm, Sat 8am-11am

Richmond: Annex Senior Center: Sharps Kiosk Only
5801 Huntington Avenue
Drop-off hours are M-F 9am-4pm

Richmond: Police Station: Sharps Kiosk & Medicine Kiosk
1701 Regatta Blvd.
Drop-off hours are M-Sun 7am -8pm

Richmond: West County Wastewater District Office: Sharps Kiosk & Medicine Kiosk
2910 Hilltop Drive, Richmond
Lobby hours are M-F 8am-5pm closed 12pm -1pm

Richmond: Shields-Reid Community Center: Sharps Kiosk Only
1410 Kelsey Street
Drop-off hours are MWF 9am-5:30pm; TTH 9am-7pm

San Pablo: Sharps Kiosk & Medicine Kiosk
San Pablo Police Station
13880 San Pablo Avenue
Lobby hours are 7:30am-6pm M-Thurs

Permanent Alameda County Take-Back Locations:

United Pharmacy
2929 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley

Alta Bates Milvia Outpatient Pharmacy
2500 Milvia Street, Suite 130, Berkeley

NOTE: The above listed permanent drop-off locations do not charge a fee for disposal service.

Other Resources to Consider:

  • Your doctor’s office or hospital may accept their patients’ sharps for disposal (but check first).
  • Needle Destruction Devices. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently only lists the “Disintegrator” as a needle destruction device approved for use by self-injectors.
  • Check the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) website: www.CalRecycle.ca.gov and place ‘sharps’ in the search box to find a listing of drug manufacturer’s mail-back programs, some of which are free.
  • Other businesses and facilities that take back home-generated sharps can be found by calling 1-800-CLEANUP (1-800-253-2687) or visiting the Earth 911 website.

Mail-Back Services for a Fee:


  • EnviroMed Safety & Compliance www.enviromedinc.com (877) 340-2430
  • GRP & Associates www.sharpsdisposal.com (800) 207-0976
  • Republic Services www.republicsharps.com (855) 737-7871
  • Sharps Compliance, Inc. www.sharpsinc.com (800) 772-5657
  • Stericycle, Inc. www.stericycle.com/mailback-programs/sharps.html (800) 355-8773
  • WCM (Waste & Compliance Management, Inc.) www.wastewise.com (866) 436-9264
  • Waste Management MedWaste Tracker (800) 664-1434
  • XMED Disposal, Inc. www.xmeddisposal.com (866) 735-9709

Some drug stores offer prepaid envelope for purchase to mail in unwanted pharmaceuticals including CVS & Walgreens.

Visit www.sharpsinc.com and look for TAKE AWAY Environmental Return System.