The City of Knoxville Police Department and other local sponsors are hosting a collection of unwanted medicines and a used mercury thermometer exchange on Friday, Jan. 23, and Saturday, Jan. 24.


The event will be offered 9 a.m.-3 p.m. both days during the Healthy Living Expo at the Knoxville Convention Center.


It’s an easy way for residents to turn in unwanted or outdated prescription medicines, over-the-counter medications and used mercury thermometers for proper disposal.


Residents turning in medications or thermometers will receive one free entry to the Healthy Living Expo. In addition, those turning in mercury thermometers will receive a digital thermometer in exchange.


The goal of the collection is to prevent these pharmaceutical and over-the-counter products from getting into area water resources – or into the hands of children – and to make sure they are disposed of in a safe, environmentally-friendly manner.


Any empty plastic containers left with the event organizers will be recycled.


The effort is part of an ongoing, nationwide effort to reduce the amount of drugs, fragrances, sunscreen products and nutritional supplements that are entering water resources by either being flushed or poured down drains.


Event organizers will be accepting residential and household medications as well as those from businesses, such as doctor’s offices, veterinarian clinics and nursing homes.


Sponsors of the two-day collection are the City of Knoxville’s Office of Solid Waste, Healthy Living Expo, the Knoxville Police Department, the Knox County Health Department, the Knox County Solid Waste Department, the Metropolitan Drug Commission, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Quality RX Returns and the University of Tennessee’s Academy of Student Pharmacists.


Can’t make it to the collection event? Old medicines can be brought anytime to the Knoxville Police Department, 800 Howard Baker Jr. Ave., and deposited in a secure collection container located near the information desk.