Medicine and Medical Waste



Medicines and medical waste present unique challenges for solid waste disposal. Since many medicines are either still active or have active byproducts, flushing is generally not advised. Sewage treatment plants may not be equipped to remove these compounds from waste water, which is then expelled back into the environment. In order to prevent this inadvertent pollution, consider the following:


  1. Read the label on the medication. Many times, the original label will have disposal directions printed on it. If the original label recommends flushing, then it is okay to do so. This is an exception to the advice above and should only be applied to this case.
  2. Dispose of unused medications in household waste. In order to reduce drug abuse enabled through discarded medication, it is advised that the medicine be removed from the original packaging, mixed with an unpalatable substance (used coffee grounds or used cat litter work well), and placed in a sealed container. Afterwards, place in your regular household waste container.
  3. Participate in a drug take-back program. The Costco pharmacy operates a drug take-back program that will accept unused medication, though the process can be lengthy due to counting and logging requirements. The Kennewick Police Department offers an annual program that may be utilized.

Medical Waste


Medical waste is often contaminated with bodily fluids and may be considered a biological hazard. Commonplace first aid items, such as bandages, can be disposed of in your household waste container.

Sharps Disposal

If you have a medical condition that requires you to use sharps and needles and need to dispose them, contact your local Waste Collection Company (WCC).  If you do not know who your WCC is, check your utility billing statement.  

WCC in Benton & Franklin Counties:

  • Basin Disposal:  509.547.2476
  • City of Richland: 509.942.7498
  • Ed’s Disposal:  509.547.2476
  • Sanitary Disposal:  541.567.8842
  • Waste Management:  509.586.7555

Business that generate a large amount of sharps waste should contact a disposal company (see list below) who will provide proper packaging, pick-up and disposal.  Small businesses can contact on-line sharps mail order disposal companies on the internet.  These companies will provide disposal containers and allow you to dispose via mail for a fee.

Stericycle                                                  331.300.3238
Waste Management Medical Waste        509.582.5121

Waste Management Clinic Solutions webpage

MedAssure Medical Waste Handling 101 Guide webpage


    Benton County    620 Market Street    Prosser, Washington 99350
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