Thank you to everyone who made the UP-Wide Pharmaceutical Collection a success.  In just 4 short hours we collected over 1000 pounds of expired and unwanted medications from 18 locations across the UP!  Please check back to this site as we begin planning for the UP-Wide Pharmaceutical Collection 2015!!

Collection Event Held on April 26, 2014


Event Press Release
Event Flyer

The following is a complete list of collection locations by County:


Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish
110 W. Jewell St.


United Methodist Church 
304 N. Main St.


First United Presbyterian
555 Bingham St.
Sault Ste. Marie


First Presbyterian
819 1st Ave. South

First Lutheran
1212 Minneapolis Ave.


Salvation Army Bread of Life Assistance Center
212 Woodward
Iron Mountain


Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church
108 S. Marquette St.


Trinity Episcopal Church
205 Montezuma


Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp
138 Fortune Lake Camp Rd.
Crystal Falls


See Houghton County


Luce County Sheriff's Office
411 Harrie St.


St. Ignace United Methodist
615 W. US 2
St. Ignace


Trinity Lutheran Church 
414 E. Ridge St.

Grace United Methodist
927 W. Fair Ave.

Messiah Lutheran
305 W. Magnetic St.


First United Methodist
601 10th Ave.

Stephenson City Hall
W. 628 Samuel St.


White Pine Community Methodist Church
9 Tamarack St.
White Pine


First United Methodist
190 N. Cedar St.


Frequently Asked Questions

1) Are Pharmaceuticals present in the environment?

Pharmaceuticals have been found in waterways and waste water effluent throughout the world. A 2002 Geological Survey (USGS) study found pharmaceutical and personal care product contaminants in 80% of 139 streams sampled in 30 different states. While detected concentrations may be low, many may be continuously introduced to the aquatic environment. Even those pharmaceuticals that break down quickly have a quality of persistence in the environment.

2) How do pharmaceuticals enter the environment?

Residential and commercial pharmaceuticals can follow two primary pathways to the environment. The first is through human excretion into the sanitary sewer. The second is through direct disposal into septic tanks, sewers or landfills.  

3) How should one properly dispose of unwanted and expired medications?

You can either save them for a local collection event or currently there are a number of locations across the UP hosting a permanent collection bin for old and expired medications.  Check with your local law enforcement agency or visit one of the pharmacists hosting a "Yellow Jug."  Find a location near you with the below map.

View Yellow Jug Old Drugs www.greatlakescleanwater.org in a larger map

Finally, if you have to throw them out please do it safely and according to these Drug Disposal Guidelines.

4) How are pharmaceuticals affecting our waters?

There is research showing that even trace amounts of some medications like steroids, antibiotics, etc are changing fish reproductive biology.  

Visit the EPA website for a more information.

Funding for this webpage is provided in part by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Pollution Prevention Program.  

Other Pollution Prevention Information

Stormwater Runoff Resoures

EPA Stormwater Advice
Michigan DEQ office of Water

Burn Barrels

Why are they bad?? Burning Pollutant Chart

Another component of Earth Keepers is to educate about the environmental hazards of burn barrels. Burning trash in a 55 gallon drum or in just a pile, often in the backyard, is a common method of solid waste disposal in some rural areas.

Surveys have revealed between 25 and 50 percent of rural residences and farms may do backyard burning.

What Gets Burned?

Materials "burned" range from all household trash including plastics, glass and metal, to a more selective burning of just paper items. However, with today's wastes, it is very difficult to keep plastics out of even carefully sorted paper-only waste. Envelope windows are usually plastic, as are some inserts in junk mail. Paper packaging often has plastic coatings.

Backyard burning is by definition "uncontrolled" burning and results in very high levels of toxic chemicals emitted in the smoke. Compared to municipal incinerators it takes place at much lower temperatures, with virtually no combustion air control, and with none of the very expensive high-tech pollution filtering apparatus required before the incinerator stack.

Very high levels of toxic chemicals and particulates are present in the smoke from open burning of waste. These may cause acute respiratory and other health problems in those breathing the smoke.

Source of Dioxin

Burning plastics can be especially problematic, with PVC plastic in particular contributing to high emissions of dioxin. Dioxin is a persistent, bio-accumulative toxin which means it isn't broken down into safer chemicals, and it is concentrated in the food chain. As dioxin in burn barrel smoke drifts away to eventually settle on nearby fields, it can be eaten by cows where it is concentrated in their fat. Some is then excreted with the milk while the rest remains in the animal's fat. When humans consume dairy products and meat they end up with the long-lived dioxin in their own bodies. The US EPA now considers burn barrels a major source of dioxin. They also consider that current dioxin levels in Americans, due to consumption of dairy and meat, are high enough to add a significant cancer risk, as well as other serious health risks.

Open burning can also be a significant fire risk, with frequent brush, forest, and structure fires attributed to burning which got out of control. Deaths have even resulted from such fires.

A number of national, state, and local organizations are working on educating the public on the risks of backyard burning. The federal government does not currently have laws or regulations addressing this problem. However, numerous states and localities have banned open burning, and the list is growing rapidly.

The problem of open burning may have increased in recent years because the cost of proper disposal of solid waste has risen and is more likely to be charged by weight and to the individual. Recycling and proper waste disposal have also become less convenient in many areas. Therefore, part of the solution to open burning will be improvements in convenience and affordability of local solid waste management systems.

View the most recent document DEQ Open Burning Model Ordinance recommended by the Department of Environmental Quality for local units of government in Michigan and a Michigan Open Burning Guide.

Link to the EPA site on open burning.

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