Public Works and Environmental Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administrative offices are open to the public by appointment only at this time. Please call or email 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 448 Fairfax, VA 22035

Sharon North,
Public Information Officer

Options for Safe Medication Disposal During COVID-19 Pandemic

We’re social! For updates on DPWES related projects, services and events visit us on Facebook @fairfaxcountyenvironment and on Twitter @ffxpublicworks.

The Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout scheduled for this Saturday, April 25, 2020, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 virus.


  • Medication disposal boxes at Fairfax County Police Stations are temporarily closed to the public
  • Some local pharmacies continue to accept unwanted medications; call first
  • Medication lockboxes are available in bulk order only; email the Community Services Board
  • There is a very limited supply of drug deactivation kits available

As we shelter-in-place, there remain safe and convenient ways to dispose of unwanted, expired and unused medications that may be piling up in homes. Proper disposal of medications prevents misuse and accidental poisoning, protects children, the water supply and the environment.

Please do not dispose of medications, in liquid or pill form (or sharps) by flushing them down the toilet or pouring them down a sink drain. Flushed medications may bypass wastewater treatment and end up in lakes, rivers and streams and eventually in drinking water supplies.

Medications may be properly disposed of in the trash. This practice is not a landfill issue, as trash is managed at an energy-from-waste facility in Fairfax County.

Please follow these directions to dispose of medications in the trash:

  1. Remove medication from the original containers
  2. Do not crush tablets or capsules
  3. Mix medication with an undesirable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds
  4. Place the mixture in a sealable bag or container and put it in the trash
  5. Put the trash out for collection close to the pickup time
  6. Black out all personal information on the prescription label

For more information about removing medications from your home in safe and environmentally friendly ways, follow this general home medical disposal information from the Fairfax County Health Department.

Melissa AtwoodThis edition of the EnviroPod podcast (episode #12) features Melissa Atwood, outreach coordinator, Noman Cole Pollution Prevention Plant, talking with host Scott Coco on EnviroPod about safely disposing of unused, expired and unwanted medications.


Fairfax Virtual Assistant