Disposal of Unwanted Medications

The Henry and Stark Health Departments staff notes that this time of year we annually celebrate the comfort and safety of our "hearth and home." Therefore, we remind area residents that we have been designated as a "Drop-Off" site for the disposal of unwanted medications.


This unused medication collection program's aim is to protect Henry and Stark County surface and groundwater resources, while reducing the amount of materials going to the landfills. In addition, the program helps to protect area residents' health by reducing the number of "out-of-date" and unnecessary medicines kept in the home environment.


  • According to Dorothy David, Health Department Director of Environmental Health Services, "Each year it is estimated that 4500 tons of pharmaceuticals and personal care products enter the waste stream." 
  • David adds, "It has been determined that many pharmaceuticals survive the water treatment process and make their way into surface water and ultimately into drinking water. Studies show that residual components of pharmaceuticals are a concern for aquatic life and for drinking water supplies drawn from surface waters."

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has asked that everyone stop flushing unwanted medications down the drain and is encouraging the establishment of permanent "Take-Back" Medication Drop- Off sites.


The Health Department offers the following instructions for the "Drop-Off" of Pharmaceuticals at their 2 locations:

  • 110 N Burr Boulevard, Kewanee
  • 103 1st Street, Colona

Drop-Off Instructions

  1. Bring only residentially generated medication items. No medications from businesses or doctors offices can be taken.
  2. Use a permanent black marker to black out any personal information and name of medication on the label.
  3. Take medications to the collection site during business hours only - Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm.
  4. Follow instructions at the Drop-Off site. Give medications to drop-off site personnel only.
  5. This is not a share or recycle opportunity. All medications will be destroyed by an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) contracted disposal company in an environmentally safe manner.

Items Accepted

The following items are accepted at Take Back site and include expired or unwanted items?

  • Prescription Medications
  • Over-the-Counter Medicines
  • Medicated Ointments
  • Medicated Shampoos
  • Liquids containing medications
  • Prescription Inhalers
  • Over-the-Counter Inhalers
  • Glass Thermometers containing Mercury
  • Medical devices containing Mercury (i.e., blood pressure units, barometers)

Items Not Accepted

  • Sharps and Needles
  • DEA - Drug Enforcement Agency controlled substances
  • Narcotic Medications
  • Illegal Drugs
  • Biohazard Materials
  • Radioactive Materials
  • Other Household Wastes

More Information

For more information on the Health Departments' new Unused Medication Collection Program you can call the Health Department at 309-852-0197 (Main Office), 792-4011 (West Office), or at 309-852-3115 (Stark County).