Pharmaceutical & Needle Recycling and Disposal

Why should I properly dispose of medical waste?

Properly disposing of medical waste, such as unused pharmaceuticals, needles, syringes, and lancets, is crucial to protect the public, garbage haulers, and City employees, as well as prevent water contamination and harm to wildlife. Sioux Falls offers free Sharps Drop-off locations for safe disposal, and the Sioux Falls Police Department has a "Drug Take Back" program for unused medications.

If no disposal options are available, federal guidelines recommend avoiding flushing medications and modifying their contents to discourage consumption. Blister packs can be wrapped in multiple layers of opaque tape before placing the container in regular household trash.


How can I properly dispose of unused pharmaceuticals?

The Sioux Falls Police Department offers a "Drug Take Back" program. This program allows citizens to drop off unused medications in a locked container in the lobby of the Law Enforcement Center from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, by properly disposing of unused medications, the "Drug Take Back" program helps to keep our environment safe.

If there are no proper disposal options, Federal guidelines offer the following recommendations:

  1. Do not flush medications down the toilet.
  2. Leave pharmaceuticals in original container. Remove any personal information from the container but leave medication information clearly visible.
  3. Modify the contents to discourage consumption.
    • Solid Medication—add a small amount of water to at least partially dissolve them and follow the instructions for liquids below
    • Liquid Medication—add enough table salt, kitty litter, coffee grounds, charcoal, or non-toxic powdered spice, such as mustard seed, to make a pungent, unpleasant mixture; it should be solidified with no free liquid after mixing
    • Blister Packs—wrap packages containing pills in multiple layers of opaque tape, like duct tape
  4. If there are no other outlets for disposing of pharmaceuticals, best practice is to place the container in with your regular household trash.

How does the Sharps program work?

FREE sharps containers can be picked up at:

Lewis Drug Pharmacies

  • All Sioux Falls Lewis Drug Locations, including Sanford Hospital (Medical Building 2), and Sanford Clinic (69th Street and Minnesota Avenue)
  • Lewis Drug Stores in Brandon, Canton, Dell Rapids, Madison, Lennox, Viborg, and Tea

Hy-Vee Pharmacies

  • All Sioux Falls Hy-Vee Locations

When your container is full, return it to the location you received it and another empty container will be given to you.

Disposal Guidelines

  • Put only needles, syringes, lancets, and transdermal patches into the disposal container.
  • Tightly seal the lid prior to disposal.
  • Give directly to the pharmacy attendant.
  • Receive a new FREE container.
  • DO NOT use unapproved containers.
  • DO NOT throw container in garbage.
  • DO NOT add bleach or chlorine.

Who can particpate?

The Sharps Disposal Program is available to any Minnehaha, Lake, Lincoln, McCook or Turner County resident who uses needles, syringes, lancets, or other sharps in their home.

*This program is for residential use only, businesses can contact the Environmental Division for disposal options.  

Questions regarding the needle disposal program can be directed to the Sioux Falls Environmental Division at 605-367-8276