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Medications / Sharps

Proper Disposal of Medications & Sharps


The last time you cleaned out your cabinets, you may have wondered what to do with medicine bottles and packages you no longer needed.  Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help heal, but if disposed of improperly they can damage the environment and/or human health. 

 Medications flushed down a sink or toilet can actually make their way into streams, rivers and lakes.  Medications in septic systems can enter soil and groundwater.  Medications thrown in the garbage end up in the landfill and can impact the leachate, which ends up in wastewater treatment plants.  Leachate is rainwater that has seeped through the landfill absorbing organic and chemical contaminates from the waste.  


Each year Canadians use approximately 7 million syringes at home, for health care purposes.  The improper disposal of syringes and other sharps in garbage or recycling containers poses a health hazard to both the community and sanitation workers. 




According to Ontario Regulation 298/12 made under the Environmental Protection Act, medication designated as “pharmaceutical” as well as sharps/syringes can be brought to any local pharmacy for proper disposal – free of charge.

Pharmaceuticals can also be brought to the County’s Hazardous and Special Waste collection events.