Donating or Disposing of Medical Supplies

Archived Q&A and Reviews



ReCARES in Oakland

August 2012

For those of us with aging parents who come to visit, or if you are or know someone who is in need of medical equipment, you should know about a wonderful service available to us here in the East Bay, called ''ReCARES''. This small operation redistributes (as in recycles) wheelchairs, walkers and other medical assists FOR FREE. They do this at the First Presbyterian Church (Oakland) parking lot every Thursday afternoon. Also they are badly in need of medical equipment DONATIONS. So you if have spare equipment, please bring it to them so they can recycle it to others in need! (It is unlawful to sell used medical equipment in California.) This is a wonderful service they are providing to the community and they are a tax exempt charitable organization. (See their website at They are struggling to maintain themselves with very few donations coming in, so if you can support them in any way, please do. N

Donating Adult Care Items

Jan 2014

We have two large boxes of disposable adult diapers to donate. They were purchased in the expectation that our ill relative would be with us much longer than he was able to but, sadly, it was not to be. If you know of a place that we can donate them to, please share the information. Thank you. Jane

In response to my recent question about donating medical items, someone else posted about ReCares (, which collects clean, gently used medical equipment and unused home health care supplies in Oakland and distributes them directly to people in need. There's a FAQ on their website with more info about what they can take, but I bet they'd love to have your leftover supplies. Recycler

ReCares recycles those sort of items that are new/unused, as well as used durable medical equipment. They have a location in Oakland ( Anon

A great organization/non-profit (& one of the only to do this work) is ReCares: They have very limited hours, but do great work and can always use your items. Paula

ReCares in Oakland will take them! they are a great resource for medical supplies and equipment. They are off Broadway in the underground parking under the Presbyterian church near 27th I think. the church is huge. you can look up the exact location. They are open Thursdays from 10 to 2. anon Thursday in Oakland kathy

Crutches, braces, and walking casts

Donating cruches and back brace

Nov 2010

I have used crutches and my son's outgrown scoliosis brace that I would like to recycle / donate. Could anyone recommend an organization in the Bay area, preferably in the East Bay? Many thanks in advance. R.

A friend of mine runs the Oakland site and my sons volunteer there when they can. This is a great program that helps a lot of people with little glory. from ReCARES web-site

The ReCARES Network's Home CARES Equipment Recycler's Program lessens needless environmental waste and at the same time provides seniors and those with disabilities dignity, safety and mobility. Each week we accept donations of clean, gently used durable medical equipment and unused home health care supplies which we provide free of charge to those in need who visit our sites. For more information or to leave us a message, call the numbers below: 510-251-2273 - Oakland Mary in Oakland

Contact ReCares in Oakland: They are glad to accept used medical equipment, which they then provide to low-income people.

What to do with used knee brace?

Sept 2010

I had a knee surgery in January. For a couple of month after I had to use two large and elaborate knee braces, really expensive according to my insurance bills. I hope that I will never have to use them again. Is there a place I can donate them? They are in great condition. Any ideas where to take them so they can be used again? Lucia

There is an non-profit organization run by a nurse called ''homecares'' where you can drop off and borrow gently used medical equipment & devices in one of several Bay Area locations, including Oakland. They operate on a shoestring so for example the Oakland location is only open on Thursdays from 1-4 for drop offs and lending. Go to the underground parking garage below/behind 2619 Broadway. The entrance is actually a 1/2 block from Broadway. This place was a huge help to us after my husband had surgery and needed a special piece of equipment that our provider, Kaiser, didn't have. I also recommend this organization to my clients. (I'm a professional organizer and owner of LET'S MAKE ROOM in Oakland.) If you donate equipment, they will give you a tax receipt. Their website is Lis

Donating walking casts

August 2008

Updates on places to donate medical equipment? I have a couple of excellent quality walking casts like these: They sell for $80 new, and mine are barely used. Size M. A few of the recommendations don't seem up to date (e.g., no answer, no return phone calls, etc.) I've been trying to follow up on Childrens Hospital (they only take new items, but somebody there supposedly runs equipment to Belize). And my podiatrist didn't have a clue. Another friend has various items that may still need donating somewhere, so it would be great to have the update. Thank you! Janet

I sell Home Medical Equipment to treat sleep apnea. Patients sometimes ask where they can donate equipment no longer needed. I give them a flier from an organization called Home CARES. They accept donations of reusable home healthcare equipment as well as disposable medical supplies that are in their original unopened packaging. They. in turn, give these items to indiciduals who otherwise have difficulty obtaining them. Contact Home Cares in Alameda County at 510.251.2273 or SF at 415.487.5405. Their address is 2619 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612-3199. Daniel

Try I haven't donated anything to them, but my friend has. anon

Donating Hearing Aids

May 2007

My mom recently passed away and I'm wondering if we can donate her very expensive hearing aids. They were made for her ears and come with a little computer device to adjust the volume and tone. She didn't use them much cause she didn't like how they felt but we paid about $3000 for them and then a few years later had them repaired for $450.00 (yikes)....would love to know that someone can use them. Are there places to donate hearing aids? thanks in advance June

My grandmother died a few years ago in Marin, and Whistlestop ( a senior services organization) was happy to take her hearing aid and glasses. Another organization, located in San Francisco but serving all of Northern California, is also happy to accept used hearing aids:
Althea's Granddaughter

I think RACOURSE takes them (see earlier post about medical items to recycle), and probably tour local Lions club which also takes used eye glasses (look in the phone book or call your city hall or chamber of commerce to find such service groups).

Donating Unused Medical Supplies?

Dec 2006

Does anyone know where I can donate unused (obviously) medical supplies? Our home health care company won't take them back and I hate for it all to go to waste. We have things like screw-top cannulas, vials for bloodwork, sterile face masks, and many other odds and ends. Any ideas?
Not a nurse, but starting to feel like one...

We took our unused home medical supplies to Childrens Hospital Oakland. The oncology clinic (in the outpatient building) sends them out to other medical facilities in need down in South America. Amy

RACORSE Network Please Call: (510) 251-2273 Drop-off or Pickup: Call to make arrangements. General Info: Accepts reusable home healthcare equipment and materials & Medical Surplus and supplies: crutches, canes, walkers, wheel chairs, oxygen equip., gauze, and much more. They also have a facility in San Francisco 415-487-5405. The RACORSE Network's Home CARES Equipment Recyclers program is an innovative hybrid, marrying an environmental mission with a community healthcare approach. Home CARES leverages community resources by accepting used durable medical equipment and surplus home healthcare supplies and putting them in the hands of low-income people in need.

AIMS, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, a charity run by Mata Amritananda Mayi in Kerala, India, may take them. Check out, and look into the San Ramon ashram here in teh bay area, which is where they organize the donations yogini

Getting rid of syringes and sharps containers

Jan 2010

Where can I donate or just plain get rid of drugs, syringes, and a sharps container that I have left from fertility treatment? I have follistim pens, a sharps container with old needles, and some vials of drugs. I took an old sharps container to Kaiser pharmacy once but they took it more as 'a favor' than a standard policy. Where can I get rid of all of these things at once? I would like to be rid of them! Thanks! Anon

I live in Richmond, and every Friday (only on Friday) the Waste Management facility accepts these items. I've dropped off drugs, lightbulbs, batteries, paints, chemicals or cleaners, etc. You might call the Berkeley waste management, maybe the one off Gilman, and see if they have a similar policy. keepin' it out of the landfill

If you are a resident of Alameda County, you can drop your sharps at any of the Household Hazardous Waste facilities (there is one in Oakland). From their website: Alameda County residents can now dispose of their own home generated sharps waste safely and conveniently at any of Alameda County's Household Hazardous Waste facilities, FREE! They will also take the medication. See for more info. Other counties may offer similar services. R.K.

I think you can give your meds and syringes to your fertility clinic and they can give them to their patients for free...assuming they know you got them from a reputable pharmacy. It has been awhile since I have been on this forum, so you might want to ask the moderator if you can give away your meds. I know you are not allowed to sell, but I think you can donate them. Here is the link without spaces: http://www. fertilethoughts. com/forums/ivf-high-tech/ As for the sharps container, you can give it to any Walgreens in San Francisco (SF only) and they will take it for free. Just in case, I would call first. I know the one near CPMC takes it because I just gave them one fairly recently. HTH anon

If you live in Alameda County you can drop them off at the Waste Disposal Facility. You will need to get a Sharps container See: page=624 Steve

Call the fire department. I know the Orinda Fire Department takes sharps containers. Maybe others do as well. Don't know about the drugs. Might have to take those to the county hazardous waste place that takes paint and stuff like that.

Donating syringes or meds is illegal. Both are prescription items and, thereby, non-transferrable to another person. I'd take the whole load to any ER, any of your doctor's offices or to Kaiser. Many pharmacies that gave you the meds have procedures for disposal. You can also obviously take them back to the fertility doc's office. JM

Most of the items you mentioned are treated as ''hazardous wastes.'' Check with Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Program: (800) 606-6606 or or For a great general reference, check out Alameda County's Recyling Guide, which you can get free on- line: Happy recycling! ;=) John

Please go to this website (it is for all of California): It is zipcode driven, so plug in your zipcode and a list of options for disposal for unwanted pharms will be given. For sharps, you may need to call ahead as those often have different drop-off locations. Thank you for asking the question and NOT FLUSHING unwanted or expired meds! protect your water!

Donating Insulin Needles

May 2004

Anyone know where I can donate almost 100 insulin syringes? My gestational diabetes days are officially over... - No Longer On Insulin

NEED is a needle exchange program loosely affiliated with the Berkeley Free Clinic. They would really appreciate a needle donation, as that is the most expensive part of the not very well funded program. You can do a drop off at any one of their 3 sites: Sunday evenings [6 - 8] at their van outside of the Clinic [2339 Durant], Thursday evenings [6 - 8] at their van down on Hearst at San Pablo, or Tuesday afternoons [4 - 6] inside the Long Haul, just across the street from the Starry Plough and La Pena on Shattuck. Their van is pretty recognizable and the folks are all extremely nice. Jean