Big Red Barrels

The Big Red Barrel Project

Big Red Barrels can now be found at:

  • Michigan State Police, Brighton PostBRB logo
  • Fowlerville Police Department
  • Hamburg Police Department
  • Pinckney Police Department
  • The Livingston County Jail
  • Unadilla Police Department
  • Green Oak Township Police Department
  • Brighton Police Department
  • Howell Police Department
  • Any Michigan State Police Post


To dispose of pills, capsules, tablets, etc:

  • Bring pills in their original containers and a resealable plastic baggie to any Big Red Barrel location. (By law, all prescription medication needs to be in its original packaging at all times.)
  • Dump the pills into the plastic baggie. Seal the baggie. Discard the empty pill bottle. *Remember to remove your personal information before throwing the empty bottle away!*
  • Place the baggie, with the medication inside of it, into the barrel.
  • Congratulations! You’ve properly disposed of your medication!
  • If you do not have a resealable plastic baggie, you may dump the medication directly into the barrel.
  • Please do not discard the bottle into the barrel.


To dispose of liquid medication:

  • Before you visit the Big Red Barrel, pour the liquid medication onto paper towels until all of the liquid medication is absorbed by the paper towel. We do this to avoid the potential for a bottle to break and having it spill liquid medication inside the barrel.
  • Place the paper towels into a resealable plastic baggie.
  • Bring the baggie, along with the empty bottle of medication, to a Big Red Barrel site. You may be asking “If, by law, all prescription medication needs to be in its original packaging at all times, why does the liquid medication get dumped into a paper towel before I reach the barrel? Wouldn’t I be breaking the law?” In order to avoid a sticky mess and the likelihood that police departments will not readily have rolls of paper towel on hand, please have the empty bottle available for any inspection that law enforcement may want.
  • Place the plastic baggie into the barrel. Discard the empty bottle. *Remember to remove your personal information before throwing the empty bottle away!*
  • Please do not discard the empty bottle into the barrel.


There is a “no questions asked” policy. This program is free and available for all people to use.

Interested in starting your own Big Red Barrel project in your community? Contact Megan at or visit the Big Red Barrel Tool-Kit

Note- Needles or syringes are not accepted. Go to your local pharmacy and purchase a sharps container. These typically cost $6.00. Put your sharps in the container and return them to: St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital Pharmacy; HIV Aids Resource Center (HARC); or Livingston County Solid Waste Management. For additional information about proper needle disposal, visit the Livingston County website

The Big Red Barrel’s History

Letters of Support for the Big Red Barrel

What to post Big Red Barrel information? Download the Big Red Barrel general poster!