SOURCE: Covanta



March 05, 2014 12:02 ET

Niagara County Sheriff's Office and Niagara County Refuse Disposal District Honored for Exceptional Leadership in Protecting People and the Environment From Improper Disposal of Drugs

Receives the 'A Million Thanks' Award From Covanta on the Occasion of Destroying One Million Pounds of Prescription Medications Nationwide

NIAGARA FALLS, NY--(Marketwired - Mar 5, 2014) - Covanta, a world leader in sustainable waste management and renewable energy, is honoring the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and Niagara County Refuse Disposal District in commemoration of the milestone attainment of the successful destruction of one million pounds of unwanted prescription medication. Both organizations have partnered closely with Covanta and their nationally recognized Prescription for Safety Program (Rx4Safety™) to achieve this milestone and were recognized for exceptional leadership in protecting local residents and the environment from the improper disposal of drugs.

The County's Pharmaceutical Collection program is a joint effort between the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, Niagara County Refuse Disposal District, Town of Lewiston Police Department and City of Niagara Falls Police Department. County residents are able to drop off old prescription drugs, expired medications, and other common pharmaceuticals at confidential drop-off sites located throughout the County, or on designated collection days. The drugs are collected from a secure bin and are in turn properly destroyed via Covanta's Rx4Safety program and processed into clean energy at the Covanta Niagara Energy-from-Waste facility free of charge. This ensures unwanted prescription drugs are kept off of the streets and out of drinking water.

The leader of the Niagara County Legislature's majority caucus, Legislator Rick Updegrove, R-Lockport, said, "This is a good partnership between law enforcement, our Refuse District, and county government to keep our neighborhoods safe and prevent unused prescriptions from falling into the wrong hands. As an added benefit, we're able to provide this service utilizing county personnel and facilities that are already paid for in our budget."

"Pharmaceuticals are a hot commodity on the streets these days," Sheriff James Voutour said. "The ability to allow citizens to dispose of unwanted drugs year round will help keep them out of the wrong hands."

Prescription drug related deaths now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined, and drug overdose deaths exceed motor vehicle-related deaths in over half of U.S. states.

"Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic in the U.S. and Covanta's program provides people with a confidential and environmentally-sound way to dispose of unwanted prescription medications, keeping them out of the hands of potential drug abusers," said Kevin O'Neil, Covanta Niagara, LLC Business Manager. "Thanks to the efforts of Niagara County and other leaders, we have reached this major milestone, protecting both people and the environment from the improper disposal of drugs." 

When flushed down the drain, medications enter waterways and contaminate surface waters, having an adverse effect on our drinking water and the environment. In addition, unused medication in the household may contribute to the growing rates of prescription drug abuse among Americans, particularly teenagers. The Covanta Rx4Safety program, in collaboration with local municipalities, provides people across the country with a way to safely dispose of unwanted drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs at no cost to the tax payer. Once collected, the drugs are properly destroyed free of charge via Covanta's Energy-from-Waste process and turned into clean, safe energy at facilities like Covanta Niagara, ensuring unwanted prescription drugs are kept off of the streets and out of drinking water.

The Covanta Niagara Energy-from-Waste facility has been converting waste into clean energy in Niagara Falls for more than 30 years. The electricity and steam produced at the facility supplies surrounding businesses and the regional power grid.

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About the Prescription for Safety Program (Rx4Safety)
Covanta's Rx4Safety program assists groups holding drug take-back events with environmentally sound disposal of prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, veterinary medications and nutritional supplements using the Energy-from-Waste process to protect our water supply, while creating clean electricity in the process. 

Municipalities interested in participating in Covanta's program must obtain appropriate regulatory approvals to ensure that such wastes are not classified as hazardous waste from a federal, state, or local perspective. Each prospective program is subject to a due diligence review by Covanta Energy.

About Covanta
Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. The Company's 45 Energy-from-Waste facilities provide communities and businesses around the world with environmentally sound solid waste disposal by using waste to generate clean, renewable energy. Annually, Covanta's modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely and securely convert approximately 20 million tons of waste into clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle over 440,000 tons of metal. Energy-from-Waste facilities reduce greenhouse gases, complement recycling and are a critical component to sustainable solid waste management. For more information, visit