Medications

Medications


Pills, tablets and capsules can be properly disposed through the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office Rx Drug Drop Box Program. Residents can deposit unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs at drop boxes located at law enforcement agencies throughout Cuyahoga County and all four campuses of Cuyahoga Community College. To find a drop off location, visit www.RXdrugdropbox.org or call 2-1-1.

Needles, sharps and syringes are not accepted in the Drop Box. For proper disposal information, see 
Needles and Sharps.

Liquid medications are not accepted in the Sheriff's Rx Drop Box Program. Properly dispose of liquid medication by mixing it with something like coffee grounds, cat litter, dirt or sawdust to make it undesirable or unusable. Once the liquid is in unusable state, place it in the regular trash for proper disposal. Do not flush liquid medications into our sewer system or waterways. 

Contact your local police department or law enforcement agency about disposal of e-cigarettes or vaping products.

SPECIAL COLLECTION EVENTS

Our partners at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District host seasonal Pitch Those Pills collection events. The following Rx collection events will be held from 11:00 AM-1:00 PM at Discount Drug Mart locations in 2022:

  • May 4: 6148 Dunham Road, Maple Heights
  • June 1: 6476 York Road, Parma Heights
  • July 6: 725 East 200 Street, Euclid
  • August 3: 5500 Wallings Road, North Royalton
  • September 7: 6160 Brecksville Road, Independence
  • October 5: 4170 Fulton Road, Cleveland

Seasonally, the U.S. DEA holds National Prescription Drug Take Back days to collect unwanted medications. Events are typically held in April and October. The next event is scheduled for April 30, 2022. Learn more.

HOSPITAL AND PHARMACY COLLECTIONS

Cleveland Clinic provides a safe method for disposal of medications that are expired or no longer needed. Cleveland Clinic has 14 drop boxes at its Northeast Ohio locations, including the Children’s Hospital, Euclid Avenue and Taussig Outpatient pharmacies at its main campus in Cleveland. The health system also has drop boxes at its family health centers and regional hospitals. See more about the medication disposal kiosks. Any approved prescription medications are accepted, including aerosols, liquids in sealed containers, tablets, capsules, creams and lotions. Disposal kiosks are available during regular pharmacy hours.

MetroHealth has public drop offs for unused prescription drugs at its Cleveland Heights and Parma medical centers. There are drop boxes located in the emergency rooms at each of those locations. See details.

 
Walgreens offers the Safe Medication Disposal Program. Drop-box receptacles at local Walgreens pharmacies are available during regular pharmacy hours. Locations in Cuyahoga County include:

Cleveland: 4265 State Road
Cleveland: 16803 Lorain Avenue
Euclid: 22401 Lake Shore Boulevard
Lakewood: 11701 Detroit Avenue
Parma: 5400 Pearl Road

CVS, Rite-Aid and other pharmacies offer mail-back programs for medications. Check at the in-store pharmacy for information about purchasing a prepaid shipping envelope.

INSULIN DONATION

Consider donating usable insulin and unused diabetic supplies to Insulin for Life USA. 



DISPOSAL OF PILL BOTTLES

Empty, over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin and pill bottles can be recycled curbside, as long as they are larger than 3" in diameter. The bottles should be empty, clean and dry before recycling.

Translucent orange prescription bottles should be placed in the regular trash or consider donating them to an animal shelter (ASPCA) or other organization that can reuse them. You can also use a mailback program such as Gimme 5 or Matthew 25 Ministries. Prescription bottles should be empty, clean and dry before donating. It's also recommended that you remove stickers or redact personal information on the bottle before donation or disposal.

Blue and green prescription bottles, typically from a veterinarian's office, should be placed in the regular trash.

Motor Oil

Motor Oil


Retail oil change locations and auto parts stores accept used motor oil for recycling.

Recycling drop-offs include Advance Auto Parts, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Napa Auto Parts and O'Reilly Auto Parts. Motor oil must be clean and not mixed with other fluids. Some locations pour-off onsite and require you to take your empty containers with you. Check with your local store for details.

Some city service departments collect used motor oil year-round from residents for recycling. Check with your communityMotor oil is also accepted in the Household Hazardous Waste Program, offered seasonally by your city service department.

Empty motor oil and antifreeze jugs may have residue of the hazardous materials they held and should be placed in the trash, not recycling, for proper disposal.

Businesses must contract with a licensed environmental services company for proper disposal or recycling. See a list in our Business Recycling Directory.

Batteries

Batteries


Do not place batteries of any kind in curbside recycling. Placing batteries in curbside recycling is hazardous and dangerous. They can be recycled or properly disposed of in other ways.

Primary/s
ingle-use alkaline batteries are not hazardous and can be disposed of in the regular trash once they wear out. If you prefer not to throw your alkaline batteries in the regular trash, you can purchase a battery collection box from Call2Recycle. We are not aware of any free recycling options for alkaline batteries.

Alkaline, silver 
oxide, zinc-air, zinc-carbon and zinc-chloride, commonly known as AA, AAA, 9V, D-cell, and button cell, are all types of primary batteries. They are classified by the federal government as non-hazardous waste. Alkaline batteries are composed primarily of common metals (steel, zinc and manganese) and do not pose a health or environmental risk during normal use or disposal. See the Call2Recycle battery chart for details.

Primary/single-use batteries are most commonly used in lowdrain 
devices, such as flashlights, clocks, watches, remote controls and smoke detectors.

Rechargeable batteries 
can be recycled for free through local Call2Recycle drop boxes, found in retail stores such as the Apple Store, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe's Home Improvement, Sears Hardware, tool repair shops and local hardware stores. The drop boxes accept Ni-MH, Ni-Cd Lithium/Li-ion batteries and battery backups. Search with your zip code to find a location near you.

Batteries Plus Bulbs retail stores will accept and recycle many types of rechargeable batteries. Locally, stores are located in Akron, Macedonia, Mayfield Heights and Parma. The retailer may also accept non-hazardous alkaline batteries and hearing aid batteries for a small fee. Check with your local store. 
See details.

Do not place lithium ion or any rechargeable battery in the trash or curbside recycling. This can cause a fire.

Be sure to safely prepare your rechargeable batteries for recycling. There are two options: Bag or tape. Option A: Bag each battery in its own clear plastic bag before placing it in a storage container. Option B: Tape the terminals with clear packing, non-conductive electrical or duct tape, keeping the label visible. See more
battery recycling tips from Call2Recycle.

* Nickel Metal Hydride (
Ni-MH) and Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries can typically be found in cordless power tools, digital cameras, two-way radios and cordless phones.

* Small Sealed Lead Acid (SSLA/Pb) 
can typically be found in emergency devices, emergency exit signs, security systems, mobility scooters and UPS backups.

* Lithum and Lithium ion (Li-ion) can typically be found in cell phones, laptops, two-way 
radios and cordless power tools.

* Backup batteries are an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that provides backup power when your regular power source fails or voltage drops to an unacceptable level. A UPS allows for the safe, orderly shutdown of a computer and connected equipment.

Lead acid batteries 
contain lead and sulfuric acid and are used as a source of power. They are mainly used in vehicles. Ohio law prohibits the disposal of lead acid batteries in landfills. The law also requires wholesalers and retailers of lead acid batteries to take your old battery for recycling when you buy a new one. Batteries that are covered by the law include batteries used in vehicles, motorcycles, wheelchairs, boats or other forms of motive power.

Local retailers that accept and recycle lead acid batteries include A-1 Battery Shop (216/861-6001), Bulldog Battery (440/942-2555) and other vehicle repair shops. Scrap metal yards, car mechanics and retailers like NTB, AutoZone and Conrad's also accept vehicle batteries for recycling. Find a location near you by searching with your zip code in the 
Yellow Pages.

Damaged Batteries
If you see a punctured, damaged, swollen or bulging battery, immediately put it in a non-flammable material such as sand or kitty litter in a cool, dry place. DO NOT THROW AWAY. See step-by-step details from wikiHow.

Contact the following local companies about proper disposal of damaged batteries:

 Company  City   Phone Number 
 Batteries+Bulbs   Akron  (330) 670-6161
 Batteries+Bulbs  Macedonia  (330) 467-8100
 Batteries+Bulbs  Mayfield Heights  (440) 449-5555 
 Batteries+Bulbs  Parma  (440) 481-3246
 Call2Recycle  throughout the U.S.   (877) 723-1297
 RET3 job corp.  Cleveland   (216) 361-9991


4 Tips For Safe and Easy Battery Recycling from Call2Recycle

  1. Safety first! Be sure to safely prep your batteries. There are two options: bag or tape. Option A: Bag each battery in its own clear plastic bag before placing it in a storage container. Option B: you can tape the terminals with clear packing, non-conductive electrical or duct tape, keeping label visible.
  2. Stay cool. Store the batteries in a cool, dry place. Incidents can occur when batteries (or the devices they power such as a cellphone or tablet) are exposed to inclement or excessively hot weather. Store them in a plastic container; avoid metal.
  3. Timing is everything. Aim to drop batteries to recycle within six months, ensuring they are bagged or taped. You can use a locator to find the nearest drop-off site.
  4. Spread the word. As we all use batteries to power our world, share the knowledge about battery recycling. It’s the right thing to do and helps keep batteries out of landfills!


Are you a business? Businesses can recycle their rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries through local specialized companies. See our Business Recycling Directory.

 

Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguishers


Metal fire extinguishers can be refilled rather than thrown away when empty, unless it was manufactured before 1984. Extinguishers made of plastic are not recyclable and should be placed in the regular trash when empty. 

Fire extinguishers consist of a hand-held cylindrical pressure-vessel, usually made of steel or 
aluminum, and an agent which can be discharged to extinguish a fire.

There are two main types 
of fire extinguishers: stored pressure and cartridge-operated. Stored pressure fire extinguishers are the most common and typically contain a dry chemical as the agent. The dry chemical is typically mono ammonium sulfate, sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate—all of which are considered non-toxic.


Very old fire extinguishers (pre-1960’s) may contain carbon tetrachloride, a known 
carcinogen. If you have a pre-1960's fire extinguisher that contains carbon tetrachloride, contact the Solid Waste District
How should you dispose of an old fire extinguisher?

If it’s not empty:
The casing is usually made out of steel or aluminum and can be recycled. Recyclers will not accept containers that are not empty so you must discharge all contents first. Discharge outside, away from children or pets. Eye protection and a mask are recommended when discharging.

* Pull the pin on the extinguisher—this unlocks the operating lever.
* Squeeze the lever above the handle to discharge contents.
* Aim low and discharge contents into a bucket or another container.

After you’ve finished discharging extinguisher contents and nothing else comes out, 
remove the head from the container—this will let the recycler know that the extinguisher is empty. Remove any plastic pieces (plastic pieces go in the trash) and take to a scrap metal yard for recycling. Dispose of the collected non-toxic dry-chemical agent in the trash.

If it’s empty:
* Squeeze the lever above the handle to ensure that all contents are discharged.
* Remove the head so that the recycler knows the container is empty.
* Recycle the steel body. Once the head is removed, the container can be taken to a scrap metal yard. 

Do not place empty fire extinguishers in your curbside recycling.
 
For a list companies in Cuyahoga County that properly dispose of fire extinguishers, including commercial products, see our Business Recycling Directory.

Flares

Flares


Do not place marine flares, road flares, fireworks, ammunition and other explosives in the regular trash.

Some local fire departments have controlled burns or disposal programs for old or expired flares. Contact your community for more information.

The Cleveland Fire Department Fire Training Academy may accept accept flares for training in controlled burns. Call (216) 664-6880.

Also, the Cuyahoga Community College Fire Training Academy may accept flares for training in controlled burns. Call (216) 987-5076.

The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that you dispose of flares at your local fire department or contact your closest Coast Guard station and ask if they hold flare training/demonstration days for the public. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is also an option for disposing of flares in a controlled burn setting.

Regarding fireworks and ammunition, contact your local safety services department or a pyrotechnics company regarding disposal of unwanted products or items. 

Marine flares, road flares, fireworks, ammunition and other explosives are not accepted in the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program. 

Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent Bulbs


Do not place bulbs, including fluorescent, incandescent, LED or HID, in your curbside recycling.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and other energy-efficient lighting such as fluorescent tube lamps and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps contain a very small amount of mercury. All fluorescent bulbs and ballasts should be recycled properly to protect public health and the environment.

Compact fluorescent bulbs (the small, twisty CFLs) can be recycled for free at most Lowe's and Home Depot retail locations. Call your local store first to make sure they are participating. Look for a drop box near the main entrance or customer service desk.

Some local Batteries+Bulbs retail stores will accept and recycle all types of bulbs and ballasts, including fluorescent tubes. Stores are located in Akron, Macedonia, Mayfield Heights, and Parma. A small disposal fee will apply. See details.

Check with your city service department to learn if a collection program exists in your community for tube bulbs. Your community may accept and properly dispose of tube bulbs using taxpayer dollars or charge you a small recycling fee.

Residents with fluorescent bulbs can also contact the Solid Waste District for alternate disposal options. Matt Walters can be reached at (216) 698-7595 or by email.

Businesses must contract with a licensed environmental services company for proper disposal or recycling of fluorescent bulbs and ballasts. See our Business Recycling Directory

How do I clean-up a broken fluorescent bulb?
In 2010, the U.S. EPA released new guidelines on how to manage mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs that break in the home. Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury sealed in the glass tubing. When broken, some of the mercury is released as mercury vapor. The EPA states the bulb will continue to leak mercury vapor until it is cleaned up and removed from the home.

What about incandescent, LED or halogen bulbs?
Incandescent lights, LED and halogen bulbs do not contain any dangerous chemicals. When the bulb is burned out, dispose in the regular trash.

Fryer Oil

Fryer Oil


Do not place fryer oil in the trash or down a drain. Fryer oil from a home can be properly recycled through the District's Household Hazardous Waste Program. Contact your city service department to learn when the next collection will be held in your community.

Local restaurants and bars may be willing to take fryer oil from a home and add it to their regular fryer oil collection. Inquire at local restaurant establishments.

Businesses with large quantities of restaurant grease or fryer oil to dispose should refer to the District's Business Recycling Directory for a list of companies that collect the oil for recycling.

Latex Paint

Latex Paint


The District and city service departments do not accept latex paint as household hazardous waste because it is not a hazardous material. Latex paint is 99% water and 1% rubber, and is safe to dispose with your household trash when it is dried out. Here are step-by-step instructions for disposing of latex paint.

[video] Learn how to dry out latex paint

To solidify latex paint:

  • Air dry. Remove the lid and allow the liquid to evaporate. This works well for small quantities of paint (an inch or two in the bottom of the can), and can take several days.
  • Use a drying agent. Mix an equal amount of an absorbent material into the can and allow the paint to dry. Use cat litter, sawdust, plaster of Paris, Oil-dry, or “waste paint hardeners” found at home improvement centers. The paint could dry quickly, depending on how much drying agent you include in the can.
  • Pour thin layers (about 1" of paint) into a cardboard box lined with plastic. Allow the paint to dry one layer at a time until all paint has hardened.
  • Once the paint is thoroughly dry, place it in a regular trash bag and put it out with your weekly rubbish collection.

 DO NOT

  • DO NOT dump the paint on the ground or down storm drains where it will travel directly to surface and/or ground water.
  • DO NOT pour paint down the drain. While small amounts of latex paint can safely be washed down the drain to a septic system or wastewater treatment plant, this practice should be kept to a minimum. Limit this to brush cleaning and other clean-up.
  • DO NOT throw liquid paint in the regular trash. Leaking paint spills out of waste collection vehicles onto city streets making an unsightly mess that is very difficult to clean up.

Tips

  • Buy the correct amount of paint for your project. Determine how much paint you’ll need via a paint calculator offered by your local home improvement or decorating store website, or use a mobile app.
  • Not sure if you’ll like a color? Use paint swatches first or purchase a sample size.
  • Be creative and use up any paint that you have left over. Paint a birdhouse, a garage wall, or outdoor furniture.
  • Dried-out paint cans, empty aerosol cans and other empty containers can be placed in the regular trash for disposal. 

Donate

Donate large quantities of good, usable latex paint to a local theater group, development corporation, or neighborhood improvement project. Make sure the paint is not contaminated with particulates, and it should not have gone through a freeze-thaw cycle. See the list below. Call ahead first to make sure that your donation will be accepted.

Helium & Oxygen Tanks

Helium & Oxygen Tanks


Do not place helium or oxygen tanks in your curbside recycling. And, putting them in the trash is hazardous.

Empty helium balloon tanks that were purchased from a retail store should be punctured and recycled at a local scrap metal yard. You may receive a rebate. Follow the disposal instructions that came with the tank or see these instructions from Balloon Time.
 
Helium tanks are not accepted in the household hazardous waste disposal program.

Medical cylinders should be disposed or recycled through the company it was purchased or received from. Check with your medical supplier for details about their takeback or exchange program. They will accept oxygen tanks that were purchased from them.

SCUBA tanks should be returned to the dive shop, tank supplier or place of purchase.

If you are unable to determine where the oxygen tank came from, recycle the tank at a scrap metal yard near you.  Determine if the tank is aluminum or stainless steel (magnets stick to stainless steel, not aluminum). Find a scrap metal yard by searching with your zip code at www.yellowpages.com Call ahead to confirm that they accept stainless steel or aluminum tanks. You can also try AAA Gas Supply (216.228.4800), ABC Fire (440.237.6677) and Air Gas Great Lakes (216.241.1696) for cylinder recycling options. 

Businesses can recycle helium and oxygen tanks through specialized companies or a scrap metal yard. They can also choose a licensed environmental services company for proper disposal. See our Business Recycling Directory.

Learn more about propane tanks.

Needles & Sharps

Needles & Sharps


Check with your health care provider or health care facility to see if they have a take-back program for needles. If not, used needles, lancets and syringes from self-injections may be placed in the regular trash if certain precautions are followed. The precautions are designed to protect sanitation workers and other workers in the waste industry from being stuck by a needle.

  • Place used needles and syringes in a rigid plastic container with a sealable lid such as a Sharps container or a plastic laundry detergent bottle with a screw top.
  • Seal the lid with tape.
  • Write "Caution: Sharps" on the container.
  • Place the container in your regular trash.
  • Do not place the container in with your recyclables.
  • Consider using a mail-back program from Waste Management or Republic Services

See more at SafeNeedleDisposal.org or read the Ohio EPA's guidance document for Disposal of Household Generated Sharps.

Learn how to dispose of Medications.