TDEC Provides More Options for Pharmaceutical Drug Disposal

Monday, September 21, 2015 | 3:36pm

143 Permanent Collection Bins in 78 Counties statewide

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, in partnership with local and state law enforcement agencies, announced today the growing success of the permanent collection bins for Tennessee residents to properly dispose of used or unwanted medication. Today’s announcement brings the total of 143 permanent collection bins statewide.

Along with several local agencies, other state departments that partnered with TDEC were the Tennessee Department of Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Safety and Homeland Security, and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Through TDEC’s 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 National statistics suggest that nearly 90 percent of Americans improperly dispose of outdated or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

“This joint effort with local law enforcement agencies and multiple state agencies is important to educate citizens on the appropriate disposal of pharmaceuticals, while increasing the number of locations for them to do so,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “We need to make Tennessee citizens aware that throwing medication away with household garbage or flushing it is not a safe method of disposal. These additional permanent collection drop-off boxes offer Tennessean’s a safe and viable disposal option to keep drugs out of our water and off the streets.”

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 For more information about the Pharmaceutical Collection Program, including a complete list of participating counties and acceptable or non-acceptable items, please visit

For communities that do not have permanent bins, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency will hold a National Prescription Take Back Day on Saturday, September 26, 2015, 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 the DEA’s National Take Back Day, including how to find a collection event near you, visit