All CVS Stores Now Recycle Unwanted Meds

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Now at all CVS locations, customers can purchase pre-paid envelopes to mail in expired or unwanted medications for recycling. Photo: CVS Caremark

CVS announced yesterday that all of its 7,200 locations will now offer customers an affordable way to safely dispose of unused, expired or unwanted medications.

To take advantage of the new service, customers purchase a Sharps Compliance Corp. postage-paid envelope for $3.99 at their local CVS pharmacy; they then mail their medications through the U.S. Postal Service to Sharps Compliance Corp.’s licensed facility for safe destruction.

By law, this program cannot accept controlled substances – illegal drugs or certain prescription medications that are regulated by the government.

Both prescription and over-the-counter medication can pollute the environment if disposed of improperly: Drugs flushed down the toilet can contaminate water sources, and drugs thrown in the trash have the potential to leach out the landfill and pollute soil and groundwater.

Old medications can also contribute to drug abuse, if they fall into the wrong hands.

“Leftover and unused pharmaceuticals are a hazard for abuse and misuse particularly by young people,” said Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. “I applaud CVS and their partners for providing consumers with an easy avenue to safely dispose of unwanted medications.”

Sharps Compliance Corp., a Houston-based medical waste management company, also provides its medication mail-back system in Walgreens, Kroger, Rite-Aid and Winn-Dixie pharmacies.

READ: What is a Producer’s Responsibility?

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