Covanta receives award for drug disposal program

The company received a 2018 Sustainability, Environmental Achievement and Leadership Award.

December 13, 2018

Covanta, a waste and energy solutions provider headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, has been recognized with the 2018 Sustainability, Environmental Achievement & Leadership (SEAL) Award for its leadership in the safe and secure destruction of medication through its Prescription for Safety (Rx4Safety) program. Launched in 2017, the SEAL is an awards-driven advocacy organization that seeks to recognize, on an annual basis, environmental progress through leadership of specific environmental and sustainability initiatives achieved by the 50 most sustainable companies in the world.

"Companies have a unique opportunity and responsibility to drive environmental progress where politics cannot," says Matt Harney, the founder of the SEAL Awards. "Our sustainability awards celebrate organizations that embrace their ethical responsibility to drive change."  

Opioid-related drug overdoses are a growing crisis in the United States. Covanta says safe disposal of expired or unwanted medications is an important step in mitigating this crisis, but the U.S. doesn’t have a set standard method for doing so. Improper disposal, such as flushing unused medications down the toilet, poisons waterways and damages the ecosystem. Covanta's Rx4Safety program addresses this need by providing safe disposal of medications collected at community-sponsored drug take-back programs and creating renewable energy in the process. Through its network of energy-from-waste facilities, Covanta says it provides environmentally sound destruction that protects water resources, creates renewable energy and reduces the risk of drugs ending up in the wrong hands.

"We are pleased to be honored with a SEAL Environmental Initiative Award," says Paul Gilman, Covanta's chief sustainability officer. "Through a broad range of partnerships—including federal, state and local police forces, state-level administrators and environmental groups—we've helped build a powerful coalition to address a serious social and environmental concern. These partnerships have enabled us to make substantial progress in eliminating pharmaceuticals from improper use and disposal in the communities we serve."

Since the launch of Rx4Safety in 2010, Covanta says its facilities have destroyed over five million pounds of unwanted drugs and medications from collection events held by municipalities, community groups and law enforcement agencies.