Water: Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products
Take-back Programs or Events for Unneeded or Expired Pharmaceuticals
Take-back programs and events are collection methods aimed at reducing the quantity of unused pharmaceuticals entering the environment and reducing the amount of drugs available for diversion, theft, or accidental poisoning. If flushed down the toilet or drain, unneeded or expired pharmaceuticals can contaminate water supplies. One alternative is take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused or expired drugs to a central location for more appropriate disposal. Some communities have pharmaceutical take-back programs or community solid-waste programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for more appropriate disposal.
The Aging Initiative in the EPA Office of the Administrator has awarded two grants to the winners of "Prudent Disposal of Unwanted Medications" solicitation:
- Grant to Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS) in St. Louis ($150K) for take-back of non-controlled, unused medicines at pharmacies
- Grant to University of Maine ($150K) for mail-back of unused medicines with appropriate involvement of law enforcement
- Press Release (May 18, 2010)
In addition, there have been several activities related to the prudent disposal of unwanted medications at the regional level, including the successful "Great Lakes Earth Day Challenge", which collected nearly 4.5 million pills for safe disposal.