Pharmaceuticals and Sharps Disposal Program

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Pharmaceuticals and Sharps Disposal Program

The City and County of Santa Cruz are working together with the cities of Watsonville, Capitola and Scotts Valley to provide a convenient and permanent system to collect used needles and lancets (often referred to collectively as “sharps”) and unwanted pharmaceuticals. Properly handling items such as unwanted pills, liquid medication, and needles is important for home safety, the protection of employees, and the environment.

The City of Santa Cruz Environmental Compliance Program and the CWEA-Monterey Bay Section jointly presented the Pollution Prevention Awards 2017 on September 21, 2017 honoring local and regional businesses who have furthered major environmental stewardship programs including pharmaceutical diversion from water sources and treatment facilities, and reclaiming water for reuse purposes.

Medications or personal care products such as pills, liquids, or creams, should not be flushed down the toilet or placed in the trash where they are accessible to children or animals. (see table below )

Needles should never be placed in a recycling cart, flushed down the toilet, or discarded separately or loosely. To properly dispose of sharps, place them in a dedicated, approved, red sharps container and drop off the full container at one of the take-back programs (see table below). These red sharps containers are available at a very nominal fee in 1-quart, 5-quart, and 2-gallon sizes at all pharmacies.

These medications and needle disposal programs are available to all residents of the City of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County. For more information about this collaborative program visit Sharp Solutions.

You may take a short survey to learn about and pledge proper disposal of used needles and unwanted medications from your home. Then if you like, share your story about how hard or easy it is to dispose of them. Include your zip code and the California Product Stewardship Council will share your stories with state legislators to support action to improve disposal options. Find Santa Cruz locations for safe disposal of needles and meds here: Sharp Solutions for Home Medications -- some of these are listed below.

(All numbers below are 831 area code.)

Agency/Business Address Phone Accepts Drugs Accepts Sharps in Special
Red Sharps Containers only!
City of Santa Cruz
Police Department
155 Center St
Santa Cruz


City of Santa Cruz Household 
Hazardous Waste Drop-Off 
605 Dimeo Lane
Santa Cruz 
Saturdays only 
7:30 am to 3:30 pm
454-5332  •  •
Bruce’s Medical Plaza Pharmacy
550 Water St
Santa Cruz


 County Courthouse

1080 Emeline Ave
Santa Cruz


County Health Center

701 Ocean St (on Water St side)
Santa Cruz

454-2160    •
600 Front Street
Santa Cruz


1700 Mission Street
Santa Cruz



Dominican Hospital Plaza Pharmacy
1595 Soquel Dr
Santa Cruz



HHW Ben Lomond 
9835 Newell Creek Rd
Ben Lomond


HHW Buena Vista 
1231 Buena Vista Dr


Horsnyder’s Pharmacy 
1226 A Soquel Ave
Santa Cruz


Safeway Pharmacy

2203 Mission St

Santa Cruz

420-5870    •
Safeway Pharmacy

117 Morrissey Blvd

Santa Cruz

426-8911    •
UC Santa Cruz Cowell Health Center Pharmacy

McLaughlin Dr

Santa Cruz

459-1407  •  •

UC Santa Cruz Police Department

114 Carriage House Rd

Santa Cruz





201 Front Street

Santa Cruz



1718 Soquel Avenue

Santa Cruz


Westside Pharmacy 
(next to Taco Bell) 
1401 Mission St
Santa Cruz



When you deliver old medications to one of these take-back locations:

  • You must physically hand your drugs to the person on counter-duty. There is no charge for this service.
  • You may leave your drugs in the original container with personal details crossed out. However, it is helpful if the name and concentration of the drug is still available and readable on the bottle.
  • If you would prefer to remove pills from bottles, you may combine them together in an unmarked container, such as a Zip-lock bag.

Pharmaceuticals Surrender Form (PDF)

Report of the Respirometry Study conducted by the City of Santa Cruz Environmental Compliance Program on the maximum acceptable limits of RootX application allowable for root control in the conveyance system to the City of Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facilities system.

For more information please contact:
Akin Babatola
Laboratory/Environmental Compliance Manager
110 California Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060
Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fax: 831-420-6489 


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