Earth911 Podcast: Deterra’s Nancy Devine Talks About Safe Drug Disposal

Earth911 Podcast Innovator Interview

Pharmaceuticals represent a growing source of pollution that impacts the water in our streams and can eventually make its way into the bodies of animals, fish, and humans. Earth911 talks with Nancy Devine, chief operating officer of Deterra, a Verde Environmental Technologies business, about safe drug disposal. The company makes the Deterra Drug Deactivation System, a recycled- and bioplastic-plastic pouch that contains an activated carbon material which binds to the pharmaceutical molecules to make them inert. It’s easy to use; you add water, drop the medication in, and seal it before tossing it in the household trash. Deterra’s pouches work on almost all over the counter and prescription drugs, whether they be pills, liquids, syrups, gels, or creams.

Do the environment a favor and dispose of all medications safely. Devine explains that flushing or tossing medication results in soil, water, and groundwater pollution. During the opioid crisis, methadone, for example, is ending up in sewage systems and can escape into the environment. And safe disposal prevents misuse of leftover drugs, contributing to fewer addictions, overdoses, and deaths.

Deterra partnered with the nonprofit organization SAFEProject and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to launch the Gone for Good campaign to distribute enough Deterra pouches to dispose of more than 1 million discarded prescription pills during October. The giveaway will happen again in March 2021. Additionally, Deterra reaches out through community events, hospital systems, and employers to send their pouches to consumers free of charge. Generally, insurers cover Deterra pouches’ cost. You can also order pouches at Deterra’s website. If you would like a Deterra Drug Deactivation System delivered to your home, visit deterrasystem.com/safe/ to learn more about the system and the pouch distribution program.

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