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Proper and timely disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medications is extremely important both for personal safety and for the environment. In recognition of this fact, Illinois has passed and enacted a drug take-back law funded by drug manufacturers. This law ensures that all state residents have access to safe medication disposal through secure kiosks and mail-in options. Please, never dispose of unwanted medication down the sink, toilet or other drains.


The following types of medication are accepted through the Drug Take-Back Act Program:

  • Prescription drugs of any brand, including generics (take-back kiosks or mail-in)
    • This includes Schedule II-V Controlled Substances
  • ​Over-the-counter drugs of any brand, including generics (take-back kiosks or mail-in)
  • Pre-filled injectors that contain medication (mail-in only)
  • Medical inhalers (mail-in only)

The following types of materials are NOT accepted through the Drug Take-Back Act Program:

  • ​Vitamins and other dietary supplements (trash if unwanted/expired)
  • Herbal and homeopathic products (trash if unwanted/expired)
  • Personal care products and cosmetics (donate unopened, trash if opened/expired)
    • ​Personal care products that are jointly regulated as OTC drugs including toothpaste, sunscreen and medicated shampoos or lotions are also not accepted
  • Schedule I Controlled Substances (i.e. illicit drugs)​
  • ​Empty pre-filled injectors, needles and medical sharps (see sharps page)
  • ​​​Medical devices/equipment (see A-Z list​, "Medical equipment")
  • Empty containers​ (see bottom of page)

Medication Drop-Off Kiosks

​The Illinois Drug Take-Back Act program​ includes secure take-back kiosks at pharmacies and law enforcement offices. There is searchable map of all drop-off locations in Illinois online at ​medtakebackillinois.org.​ We have also mapped the sites in and very close to Kane Co. on the map below (updated May 2024).​

There are likely other medication take-back kiosks and programs in the County that are not operated through the state program. Residents should feel safe to use any medication take-back operated by a commercial pharmacy or law enforcement agency even if it isn't mapped here, but note that police departments that are not funded through the state program may limit service to residents only, while the mapped kiosks are required to be open to any Illinois resident.​​

Medication Mail-Back

​The Illinois Drug Take-Back Act requires that plan administrators provide free pre-paid mail-in options. Both 2024 plan administrators offer three types of mail-in kits: 1) General medication; 2) pre-filled injectors containing medication; and 3) medical inhalers​.

Residents can order mail-in kits online or by phone by using either of these companies:

Pill Bottle Recycling

Unfortunately, the answer of whether empty pill bottles can be recycled is "only sometimes." They are all made from recyclable plastics, but some are too small to be sorted at recycling facilities if they go in your cart. 
Larger pill bottles on the left with a checkmark. A small pill bottle on the right with an ex
Many delivery-by-mail pharmacies are using larger diameter opaque plastic bottles. These can go in your curbside cart - caps and the label can stay on, but you may want to use a marker to obscure your personal information. This goes for most OTC medicine, vitamin and supplement bottles as well. The translucent orange containers that are about an inch in diameter used by many pharmacies for small orders may be too small to be sorted successfully at modern recycling plants. If this is a concern for you, religious charitable organization Mathew: 25 Ministries has a pill bottle mail in program. Read more about​ i​​t here. Also, keep in mind that pill bottles ARE reusable! They are great for paperclips, beads, sewing needles, spices, and many other creative reuses.