Company helps SNFs dispose unused medications

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A New Jersey materials management company is helping long-term care facilities in New York toss out unwanted medications.

Covanta Environmental Solutions announced that it is doing so as part of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's Pilot Pharmaceutical Take Back Program. Covanta was just awarded a five-year contract for the work, starting this month, which will involve the company installing some 250 kiosks at long-term care facilities, along with hospitals and retail pharmacies, across the Empire State.

There, residents and other consumers will be able to safely discard any unused and expired meds. Covanta, based in Morristown, NJ, will collect and process those medications at its Energy-from-Waste facilities. Such disposal has become a key concern, as improperly disposed and unused opioids from seniors and other patients have helped to spread the nation's opioid epidemic. Since 2010, Covanta says it has disposed of more than four million pounds of medications through take-back programs across the country.

"Through our work with regulatory agencies, law enforcement and environmental advocates, we have become a resource for communities nationwide looking to properly and responsibly discard unwanted drugs,” Paul Stauder, president of Covanta Environmental Solutions, said in a press release. “We are proud to provide this same service to the people of New York State. Preventing accidental poisonings and protecting the public from these drugs is of utmost importance, but also making sure our environment and water isn't negatively impacted from improper disposal is essential as well. We commend New York State for making this important issue a priority."