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Community Health & Safety: Prescription for Safety Program (Rx4Safety)


Rx4Safety has safely destroyed over Two Million Pounds of Unwanted Medications!

When flushed down the drain or disposed of in landfills, medications enter waterways and contaminate surface waters, having an adverse effect on our drinking water and the environment. Typical waste water treatment plants are not designed to remove drugs from drinking water, resulting in a negative impact upon aquatic organisms, fish and other wildlife when these pharmaceuticals are disposed of improperly. In addition, unused medication in the household may contribute to growing rates of prescription drug abuse among Americans, particularly teenagers.

In support of national efforts to alleviate these issues, Covanta  developed the Prescription for Safety Program (Rx4Safety) to provide safe, free disposal of medications collected at community sponsored drug take-back programs. Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facilities provide safe, environmentally sound destruction that protects water resources and reduces the risk of drugs reaching unauthorized users.



Take-back events, such as those sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), provide a safe, confidential and proper way to dispose of unwanted prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, veterinary medications and nutritional supplements. Covanta’s Rx4Safety program enables groups holding take-back events to ensure environmentally proper disposal. In addition to properly managing the destruction of these unwanted drugs and protecting our clean water supply, collected drugs are used to create electricity. Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facilities reduce greenhouse gases and produce clean, renewable energy from municipal solid waste. Since the program’s launch in 2010, Covanta’s facilities have destroyed over two million pounds of unwanted medications from United States collection events held by municipalities, community groups and law enforcement agencies.

Covanta celebrated the milestone attainment of its Rx4Safety program’s successful destruction of one million pounds of unwanted prescription medication by honoring partners and advocates from across the country with its ‘A Million Thanks’ award. 

Municipalities interested in participating in Covanta’s program must obtain appropriate regulatory approvals in order to ensure that such wastes are not classified as hazardous waste from a federal, state, or local perspective. Each program would be subject to a due diligence review by Covanta. For more information, please email

In 2012, American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC) launched the free mobile App “AMCC Rx Drop” to provide communities throughout the country with information on prescription disposal sites. Download the app at the Apple or Android store. Visit the AMCC website to find a free drop off location near you.