Safe, Free Disposal Of Medicines And Sharps

Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta.

The UCSC Student Health Center Pharmacy now has the ability to provide for safe and free disposal of personal unused and expired medications as well as household sharps (in approved sharps containers).

The Sharps Solution program is administered through a county grant with help from Ecology Action. It is free and available for students, staff and faculty. The Sharps Solution program will improve the environment by having fewer chemicals and sharps in sewers and landfills. It will also improve safety at home, especially for children, pets and the elderly.



  • You may combine all pills in a plastic baggie to save space. Recycle the plastic pill bottles.
  • Leave liquid medicines in the original container
  • Mark out personal information on labels if you wish.
  • Deposit all items in the claerly labeled medicine disposal bin located at the Pharmacy.


  • Controlled substances are not allowed
  • Items accepted include: prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, pet medication, medication samples, vitamins, medicated ointments, creams and lotions, inhalers and liquid medications in leak-proof containers
  • Items not accepted include: controlled substances (narcotics), personal care products, aerosol cans, bloody or infectious waste, thermometers, IV bags, hydrogen peroxide, empty containers



  • Put all sharps in an approved red plastic sharps container
  • Give filled Sharps Container to Pharmacy Staff


  • Sharps are hypodermic needles, syringes, pen needles, intraveneous needles, lancets, broken medication glass, such as ampoules, scalpels and suture needles
  • Legally all sharps must be disposed of in approved sharps containers and are not allowed in trash and landfills, even in a container.
  • Sharps containers are available for purchase at pharmacies.