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The Green Life: Medicine Mail-Back Program Diverts a Ton of Drugs From Waterways

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May 18, 2010

Medicine Mail-Back Program Diverts a Ton of Drugs From Waterways

Pill flower The University of Maine’s Center on Aging has completed the first-ever mail-back program, called Safe Medicine Disposal for ME, for unwanted over-the-counter and prescribed medications. The result? More than 2,300 pounds of medications were returned in 3,926 envelopes – preventing 1,970 pounds of medications from ending up in waterways and landfills.

The EPA, which awarded the center with $150,000 to help develop the program, hopes the sent-in pharmaceuticals will help the agency fill in research gaps about the amounts and types of drugs that negatively affect rivers and other ecosystems.

The program, called Safe Medicine Disposal for ME, made sure the drugs were disposed of by means of high-heat incineration, which complies with state and federal laws as well as safe environmental practices.

--Sarah A. Henderson

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