FW: [Pharmwaste] RE: PhRMA Medication Disposal Statement Released October 31, 2011

Bunnell, Ross Ross.Bunnell at ct.gov
Wed Nov 2 14:04:53 EDT 2011

Melissa and other members of the listserv:

Please be mindful that the environmental impacts associated with disposal in the trash will vary depending on how municipal solid waste is handled in a particular area.

Here in Connecticut, virtually all of the municipal solid waste ("MSW") generated by residents goes to Resources Recovery Facilities ("RRFs,, aka "trash to energy plants").  We in the waste program at CT DEP have worked with our air permitting folks and determined that our RRFs are more than capable of destroying pharmaceutical wastes without affecting emissions from the facilities.  It is therefore our stated policy that the "denature, disguise, and dispose" method is the advised method for residents in CT.  See our website:


Although we also allow take-back programs to occur, and feel that these programs are a valuable resource in certain situations (e.g., the surviving relative with a trash bag full of unused meds left over after a parent passed away), our primary policy is to "denature, disguise and dispose."  Indeed, many of the drugs collected at take back events are shipped to local RRFs for destruction - meaning that they wind up in the same place.  There are many other areas of the country - especially in the Northeast where landfill space is limited or non-existent - where conditions may be the same.

One shoe does not fit every foot.

--Ross Bunnell, Sanitary Engineer 3
Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP)
Bureau of Materials Management and Compliance Assurance
Waste Engineering & Enforcement Division
Tel.  860.424.3274
Fax  860.424.4059
ross.bunnell at ct.gov

From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us [mailto:pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us] On Behalf Of Boehm, Melissa
Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 1:16 PM
To: Shield, Margaret; pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us
Subject: Re: [Pharmwaste] RE: PhRMA Medication Disposal Statement Released October 31, 2011

They are advocating for people to throw drugs in the trash?? Not only that, but "sealed in an opaque container safely secure from children, pets, and others; and discarded in household trash to be later incinerated or placed in a government approved solid waste landfill.
They also want people to throw (potentially recyclable) containers into a landfill as well???
How does that "promote secure disposal"?

I also don't see any evidence of them "strongly supporting various efforts and programs to prevent prescription drug diversion."

From: Margaret Shield <margaret.shield at kingcounty.gov<mailto:margaret.shield at kingcounty.gov>>
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2011 11:20:58 -0500
To: "pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us<mailto:pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us>" <pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us<mailto:pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us>>
Subject: [Pharmwaste] RE: PhRMA Medication Disposal Statement Released October 31, 2011

The only PhRMA "promotion" of the DEA take-back event that I've seen has provided confusing messages to the public.
As an example, see this link to PhRMA's TV ad for the April 30th event.  Similar spots were out for the Oct 29th event.
The spot mentions the DEA event, then says "but you don't have to wait" for the DEA event, throw medicines in the household trash now.
DEA and our local sheriffs and police would NOT be holding National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days if they thought throwing drugs in the household trash was just as safe as secure drug take-back.

In my view, the PhRMA promo does not accurately represent the FDA's position, which says that trash disposal should be done "if no medicine take-back program is available..." , see:

In WA state, we have a number of secure, ongoing medicine take-back programs operated by local law enforcement, public health agencies and pharmacies as a better alternative to trash disposal.  See drop-off locations list at http://www.takebackyourmeds.org/what-you-can-do/locations; and, there may be additional drop off sites in WA that are not on this list.

This is a serious issue for our communities, it is upsetting to see this industry association doing PR that confuses the public and conflicts with advice from local law enforcement, public health, and solid waste agencies.

Margaret Shield PhD
Policy Liaison
Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County
130 Nickerson Street, Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98109-1658
(w) 206-263-3059
(c) 206-265-9732
(fax) 206-263-3070
Protect Our Kids, Families, and Environment - www.TakeBackYourMeds.org

From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us<mailto:pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us> [mailto:pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us] On Behalf Of Volkman, Jennifer (MPCA)
Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 8:40 AM
To: pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us<mailto:pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us>
Subject: RE: [Pharmwaste] FW: PhRMA Medication Disposal Statement Released October 31, 2011

No involvement here in MN to my knowledge. Individual pharmacists and pharm students have gotten involved, but not in association with PhRMA.

From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us<mailto:pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us> [pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us<mailto:pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us>] on behalf of Tenace, Laurie [Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us<mailto:Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us>]
Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 7:00 AM
To: pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us<mailto:pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us>
Subject: [Pharmwaste] FW: PhRMA Medication Disposal Statement Released October 31, 2011

Please take a few minutes to share your comments on the service you received from the department by clicking on this link DEP Customer Survey<http://survey.dep.state.fl.us/?refemail=Laurie.Tenace@dep.state.fl.us>.
From: Fabisiak, Greg [mailto:Greg.Fabisiak at dphe.state.co.us]
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 5:29 PM
To: pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us<mailto:pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us>
Subject: PhRMA Medication Disposal Statement Released October 31, 2011

PhRMA released the following statement on the heels of DEA's latest take-back day:


Greg Fabisiak
Environmental Integration Coordinator
Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, DEHS-B2
Denver, CO 80246-1530

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