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TDEC Incentive Provides More Options for Pharmaceutical Drug Disposal

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 | 11:00am


Announces 10 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 an additional 10 new permanent collection bins for Tennessee residents to properly dispose of used or unwanted medication.  Today’s announcement will bring the total of permanent collection bins to 23 across Tennessee.

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  National statistics suggest that nearly 90 percent of Americans improperly dispose of outdated or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.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, which was announced earlier this year, 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: 

Clay County

Dyer County

Haywood County

Humphreys County

Johnson County

Madison County

Overton County

Putnam County

Sevier County

Wilson County


“Monitoring across the nation has indicated the presence of pharmaceuticals in our surface water and waste water,” added 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 cities and counties schedule one-time events throughout the year in various locations.  The DEA also will hold a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, September 29, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in communities across the country.  These annual events are great opportunities 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



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