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Safe Drug Disposal FAQ's


Many pharmacies, local law enforcement agencies, City Hall buildings, and local house hold hazardous waste facilities provide disposal services for home-generated sharps and unwanted medications. Contact the facility for more information.

Below are a few resources to help locate disposal sites in your area:


No. Drug kiosk is a free service to the public to properly dispose of their unwanted medication.

Yes. The following drugs are restricted:

  • Herbal-based remedies and homeopathic drugs products or remedies;
  • Cosmetics, shampoos, sunscreens, toothpaste, lip balm, antiperspirants, or other personal care products that are regulated as both cosmetics and nonprescription drugs under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.);
  • Vitamins or supplements;
  • Drugs for which producers provide a pharmaceutical product stewardship or take-back program as part of a federal Food and Drug Administration-managed risk evaluation and mitigation strategy under Section 355-1 of Title 21 of the United States Code;
  • Biological products as defined by 21 Code of Federal Regulations Part 600.3(h) (2015) for which a producer provides a pharmaceutical product stewardship or take-back program; and Medical devices or their component parts or accessories.

A free mail-back service can be available to county residents who are disabled or homebound, in a manner that allows for convenient and equitable access to these services by these persons.

If at least 3 drug kiosks have not been established in the supervisorial districts of the unincorporated areas of the county. The residents can receive free mail-back service. The mail back service to send unwanted drugs are prepaid and preaddressed mailing envelopes. Contact a Stewardship Organization or your local pharmacy to obtain additional information on these mail back services.

Yes, when at least 3 drug kiosks have not been established in the supervisorial districts of the unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County. Visit the Stewardship Organizations website to see when and where the next scheduled event is to partake.

MedProject Take-Back Events

At least 6 hours
Once per quarter of each calendar year in at least 3 locations in the unincorporated district

This is from the Contra Costa County local ordinance 418-16 Safe Drug Disposal.

A stewardship program is a program operated by or on behalf of a producer that provides for the collection, transportation and disposal of unwanted covered drugs generated by county residents.

A stewardship plan is a written document that describes a stewardship program.

Contra Costa County Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance 418-16 requires producers selling or distributing covered drugs in unincorporated Contra Costa County to participate in an approved stewardship program.

A producer either individually, jointly with other producers, or by and through a stewardship organization need to submit a stewardship plan.

A producer is the manufacturer of a covered drug that is sold or distributed in any form in the unincorporated area of the county.

A stewardship organization is a person designated by a producer to develop or implement a stewardship plan or operate a stewardship program on behalf of the producer.

For initial review of a new stewardship plan that has never been approved by Contra Costa County a completed application forms (insert a hyperlink to the forms section on the Contra Costa’s Safe Drug Disposal Stewardship Ordinance webpage) needs to be submitted to Contra Costa County Environmental Health via US mail, email, or fax.

A completed application packet for a new stewardship plan includes a completed Contra Costa Environmental Health Division Pharmaceutical Stewardship Application, Notice of Intent to Participate in a Stewardship Program from the producer, completed stewardship plan, completed stewardship plan checklist, and payment of fees.

For amending an existing approved stewardship plan that was approved by Contra Costa County or amending a new stewardship plan that was rejected a completed application packet needs to be submitted to Contra Costa County Environmental Health via US mail, email, or fax.

A completed application packet for an amended stewardship plan includes a completed Contra Costa Environmental Health Pharmaceutical Stewardship Application, amended stewardship plan, completed stewardship plan checklist, and payment of fees. For stewardship plans amended due to a substantive change a written explanation of the changes also need to be submitted. For stewardship plans amended due to addition of a producer to the plan, a Notice of Intent to Participate in a Stewardship Program from the new producer also needs to be submitted.

Contra Costa County Environmental Health
2120 Diamond Blvd Suite 100
Concord, CA 94520
Medical.Waste@cchealth.org
Fax: 925-608-5502

An amended stewardship plan needs to be submitted when substantive changes are proposed to an existing approved stewardship program or when a new stewardship plan was rejected.

Substantive changes include changes in the location, number or operating hours of drop-off sites or periodic take-back events; changes in collection methods; changes in mail-back service procedures; changes in the policies or procedures to be followed by persons handling collected unwanted covered drugs; changes required in response to federal, state or local laws or regulations; and changes in stewardship program operators or participating producers.

Non-substantive changes include changes in location of a collection kiosk within a retail pharmacy; changes in methods of distribution of prepaid, preaddressed mailers used for the mail-back of unwanted covered drugs; changes in contact information for the program operator participating producers; and changes in the system described in Ord. 418-16.208(d)

Substantive changes to an existing approved stewardship program require written approval from the health officer prior to implementing substantive changes. Producers participating in the plan shall submit a completed application, amended stewardship plan, written explanation of the changes and payment of fee. Upon review, the health officer will provide a written response to approve or reject the amended plan.

Substantive changes include:

  • changes in the location
  • number or operating hours of drop-off sites or periodic takeback events
  • changes in collection methods
  • changes in mail-back service procedures
  • changes in the policies or procedures to be followed by persons handling collected
  • unwanted covered drugs
  • changes required in response to federal, state or local laws or regulations
  • changes in stewardship program operators or participating producers

Non-substantive changes to an existing approved stewardship program requires 20 days advance written notification by the program operator to the health officer. Submit a completed Stewardship Program Non-Substantive Change Notification form to Contra Costa County Environmental Health.

Non-substantive changes include:

  • changes in location of a collection kiosk within a retail pharmacy
  • changes in methods of distribution of prepaid
  • preaddressed mailers used for the mail-back of unwanted covered drugs; changes in contact information for the program operator and participating producers changes in the system described in subsection 418-16.208 (d)

Changes other than substantive and non-substantive changes may be made to an existing approved stewardship program without the prior approval of or notification to the health officer.

Provide 20 day advance written notification of the proposed changed to the health officer. Submit a completed Stewardship Program Non-Substantive Change Notification form to Contra Costa County Environmental Health via US Mail, email, or fax.

Contra Costa County Environmental Health
2120 Diamond Blvd Suite 100
Concord, CA 94520
Medical.Waste@cchealth.org
Fax: 925-608-5502

CCEH will provide a written response within 90 days of receiving a completed application packet.

The written response received from CCEH will include reasons for the rejection. Within 60 calendar days after the date of the written notice of rejection, the producer shall submit a revised stewardship plan that conforms to the requirements set forth in Section 418-16.208 together with payment of a fee.

In addition to participating in an approved stewardship program producers and program operators need to provide notifications and submit reports.

Within 9 months of commencement of sale in the unincorporated area of the county of a covered drug manufactured by the producer the producer needs to provide written notices to all retail pharmacies located in the county and law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction in the county of the opportunity to participate as collectors. The notice must explain the process for entering into an agreement to participate in the stewardship program. Additionally, the notices shall be sent annually to all nonparticipating or new retail pharmacies located in the county.

Program operators need to provide public notice of the availability of unwanted covered drug collection services through postings at collection sites and advertising in local media.

Program operators need to submit annual program operations reports during the reporting period. Reports shall include information listed in Ord. 418-16.218

Drug wholesaler means a person who engages in the sale or distribution of covered drugs to retailers or other entities located in the unincorporated area of the county but not individual consumers.

Within sixty days after the effective date of this chapter, and no later than April 1 of every year thereafter, a drug wholesaler shall submit written notification to the health officer of the names and manufacturers of all covered drugs that the drug wholesaler sells or distributes in the unincorporated area of the county.