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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2010
CONTACT: DEP Press Office, (850) 245-2112 or (850) 778-7294

DEP’s Easy as One Initiative and Swix Tallahassee Collection Event Makes Environmental Stewardship Easy

~Free event collecting unwanted medications and plastic bags protects the environment and public safety~  

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Easy As One initiative, the Southern Waste Information eXchange, Inc. (SWIX) along with A Bag’s Life today co-sponsored a free Operation Medicine Cabinet collection event in Tallahassee at Costco. At the event, 250 retail plastic bags were collected and recycled and more than 193 pounds of unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter medicines were gathered for safe and proper disposal.

“Improper disposal of medicine has potential environmental and safety implications,” said DEP’s Division of Waste Management Director Mary Jean Yon. “This event made it easy for residents to safely remove potentially dangerous medicine from their homes and prevent it from contaminating our water, as well as remove other items from entering the waste stream.”

Proper disposal of unwanted medications is important to public safety since wastewater treatment systems are not designed to remove many types of medications. Residents can contaminate groundwater supply and drinking water by flushing drugs down the toilet or pouring medications down the sink. All of the collected drugs will remain in the custody of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office until they are destroyed properly by incineration.

“Costco was glad to assist with Operation Medicine Cabinet,” said Costco pharmacist Willishea Jones. “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.”

For those who were unable to attend the event, many retail grocery stores have implemented plastic bag recycling programs to make recycling easy for their shoppers. To find a plastic bag recycling location, go to www.abagslife.com. Visit www.Earth911.com for information on recycling paper and many other items such as computer monitors, toner cartridges, cell phones and televisions. DEP provides information on proper medication disposal.

Other partners in today’s event included the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Public Works Department, Florida Department of Health, 94.9 TNT radio station, Florida Pharmacy Association, Florida Society of Health Systems Pharmacists, Florida State University (Center for Biomedical and Toxicological Research) and Townsend Addiction Recovery Center.

About Easy As One
Easy As One - Ordinary actions. Extraordinary results. is an environmental awareness campaign by DEP that highlights easy actions each one of us can take to make sustainable practices part of our daily lives at home, at school, at work and at play. As the lead agency in state government for environmental management and stewardship, DEP encourages citizens to adopt green habits that protect Florida’s air and water quality, conserve water and reduce waste. A sustainable Florida depends on the collective efforts of citizens, groups, businesses, industry and government. For more information visit the Easy As One blog, www.dep.state.fl.us/EasyAsOne or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/EasyAsOne.

prescription medication

"Improper disposal of medicine has potential environmental and safety implications."

Mary Jean Yon
DEP’s Division of Waste Management Director

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Last updated: November 22, 2010

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