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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 15, 2010
CONTACT: Marguerite Jordan, (850) 245-2112 or (850) 528-8206

Medicine Collection Event Makes Environmental Stewardship Easy

~DEP, SWIX, Costco and others partner in Operation Medicine Cabinet to properly dispose of more than 145 pounds of unused or expired prescriptions and medications~

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Southern Waste Information eXchange, Inc. (SWIX), along with Costco and other partners, collected more than 145 pounds of unused or expired prescriptions and medications last weekend at a free medicine collection event held at the Costco store in Tallahassee. Other partners in Operation Medicine Cabinet included the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Public Works Department, City of Tallahassee Solid Waste Services, Florida Department of Health, and 94.9 TNT radio station.

"Improper disposal of medicine has potential environmental, health and safety risks," said Mary Jean Yon, Director of DEP's Division of Waste Management. "This event made it easy for residents to safely remove potentially dangerous medicine from their homes and prevent it from contaminating our water."

Wastewater treatment systems are not designed to remove many types of medications, so flushing drugs down the toilet or pouring medications down the sink can contaminate the groundwater supply, including our drinking water.

"Costco was glad to assist with Operation Medicine Cabinet," said Costco pharmacist Brad Mueller. "By collecting these drugs we know that we are providing a valuable service to the residents of Tallahassee and Leon County and assisting in the protection of our environment at the same time."

More than 135 residents from Tallahassee and Leon County came to the event and about 1,600 medicine containers totaling more than 145 pounds of unwanted or expired prescription drugs and over the counter medications were collected. All of the collected drugs will remain in the custody of the Sheriff’s Office until they are destroyed properly by incineration.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the state's principal environmental agency, created to protect, conserve and manage Florida's environment and natural resources. DEP enforces federal and state environmental laws, protects Florida's air and water quality, cleans up pollution, regulates solid waste management, promotes pollution prevention and acquires environmentally-sensitive lands for preservation. The agency also maintains a statewide system of parks, trails and aquatic preserves.

For more information on proper disposal of unwanted medications, please visit DEP's Web site at www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/medications.

large buckets filled with medicine bottles

"Improper disposal of medicine has potential environmental, health and safety risks."

Mary Jean Yon
DEP Director of Waste Management



Last updated: February 16, 2010

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