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Indiana County Recognizes Covanta’s Role in Drug Abuse Prevention and Environmental Protection

Safely destroying collected drugs through the WTE process helps deter prescription drug abuse and protects waterways and drinking water from potential contamination.

Covanta Indianapolis, owner and operator of the local waste-to-energy (WTE) facility, was recognized during the Drug Free Marion County’s (DFMC) annual meeting for its role in providing safe disposal of medications collected at community drug take-back programs. Collected drugs are combusted at high temperatures and converted into clean, renewable energy at no charge through Covanta's Rx4Safety program.

In total, Covanta Indianapolis has disposed of more than 1.2 million pounds of drugs from communities throughout the Midwest since 2010. Safely destroying collected drugs through the WTE process helps deter prescription drug abuse and protects waterways and drinking water from potential contamination.

“We are extremely grateful for and would like to thank community partners Covanta Indianapolis, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement agencies for their work educating the public on proper disposal of unwanted or expired drugs,” DFMC Executive Director Randy Miller said in a statement. “Beginning in 2014, drug drop-off boxes were distributed throughout the county and to date have collected over 4,000 pounds of prescription drugs, with most of the collected material safely disposed of at Covanta.”

Covanta is also hosting a drug take-back booth in partnership with DFMC, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management on Earth Day, April 22 during the Earth Day Indiana Festival from 11a.m. to 4p.m. at the Historic Military Park at White River State Park.

When flushed down the drain or disposed of in landfills, medications can enter waterways and contaminate surface waters, having an adverse effect on drinking water and the environment. In addition, unused medication in the household may contribute to the growing rates of prescription drug abuse.

“Too often, people dispose of expired or unwanted medications by flushing them down the toilet,” Covanta Indianapolis Business Manager Bindi Kean said in a statement.  “Wastewater treatment plants are unable to filter out pharmaceuticals, leading to potential contamination of our water supplies. Proper disposal at energy-from-waste facilities limits the harmful effects of these medications by providing a safe disposal option, protecting both our community and our environment.”

Through DFMC, there are currently 11 drug drop-off boxes within Marion County for residents which is anticipated to increase to 15 by the end of this year.

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