Skip to Main Content

TDEC Incentive Increases Options for Pharmaceutical Drug Disposal

Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 10:08am
Announces 13 New Permanent Collection Bins Across State
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, in partnership with local law enforcement agencies across the state, announced today its plans to introduce 13 new permanent collection bins for Tennessee residents to properly dispose of used or unwanted medication. 
Through TDEC’s new Pharmaceutical Collection Program, the permanent bins offer a safe and easy way to dispose of unwanted medication, while creating opportunities for residents to promote environmental protection and a safer community.  National statistics suggest that nearly 90 percent of Americans improperly dispose of outdated or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
“Many citizens simply don’t know that throwing medication away with the household garbage or flushing it is not the preferred way to dispose of them,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau.  “This joint effort is designed to educate citizens on the importance of appropriate disposal of pharmaceuticals, while increasing the number of locations for them to do so.” 
As part of TDEC’s new program, permanent collection bin recipients were chosen from applications submitted by local law enforcement agencies, in return for their commitment to secure and monitor the bins.  TDEC also will require a monthly report on the total of pounds collected.  A list of counties receiving permanent collection bins include:
·       Bedford County
·       Dickson County
·       Greene County
·       Gibson County
·       Hamblen County
·       Knox County
·       McMinn County
·       Monroe County
·       Obion County
·       Roane County
·       Rutherford County
·       Stewart County
·       Sumner County
“Monitoring across the nation has indicated the presence of pharmaceuticals in our surface water and waste water,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau.  “TDEC is pleased to present these new permanent collection drop-off boxes, offering a safe and viable disposal option to keep drugs out of our water and off the streets.”
TDEC sponsors both the new permanent collection sites and temporary collection events throughout the year.   For communities interested in becoming a permanent drop-off location, please contact Kathy Glapa in TDEC’s Office of Sustainable Practices at (615) 253-8780 or at For more information about the Pharmaceutical Collection Program, including a complete list of participating counties and acceptable or non-acceptable items, please visit
For Tennessee communities without permanent collection bins, the Drug Enforcement Administration and a number of city and counties schedule one-time events throughout the year in various locations.  The DEA also will hold its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in communities across the country.  This annual event is a great opportunity for those who have accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications. To learn more about DEA’s National Take Back Day, including how to find a collection event near you, please visit

Press Releases | Environment & Conservation