Medical Waste


Residential Medication Disposal

Please don’t flush medicines down the toilet!

Wastewater treatment facilities were not designed to remove many of the chemicals that make up pharmaceutical products. A 2002 USGS study showed that 80% of the 139 streams sampled nationwide contained small amounts of pharmaceuticals. If released into water bodies, these pharmaceutical byproducts can adversely impact wildlife and the environment.



In Santa Barbara County, "MED-Project" provides safe disposal of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter household medications. You can place medicines in a baggie and recycle the containers, or keep medications in their original containers but remove or scratch out all personal information.

ACCEPTED: Medications in any dosage form except for those listed below, in their original container or sealed bag. *NEW* - MED-Project will now start accepting inhalers dropped off in their bins.

NOT ACCEPTED: Herbal remedies, vitamins, supplements, cosmetics, other personal care products, compressed cylinders, aerosols, medical devices, sharps, illicit drugs, mercury containing thermometers and iodine-containing medications.

Disposal Options

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Thermometers & Blood Pressure Cuffs

Older thermometers and blood pressure cuffs contain mercury, which is a heavy metal and hazardous to your health. Newer, digital thermometers do not contain mercury, but must be recycled with the electronics. Bring all mercury devices to the Community Household Hazardous Waste Site at UCSB (link to Hazardous Waste section on the Special Waste page).

If you have broken a thermometer and mercury pours out, you must recover all of the droplets and place in an airtight container without touching it. If vacuumed, placed in the trash, or left uncollected, the mercury will evaporate and you will breathe it in.