NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Covanta (NYSE: CVA), a world leader in sustainable waste and energy solutions, has been selected as a finalist for the 21st annual S&P Global Platts Global Energy Awards in its Corporate Social Responsibility category, specifically recognizing its Prescription for Safety Program (Rx4Safety). Established in 1999, the awards highlight corporate and individual innovation, leadership and superior performance in the energy industry. The 2019 finalists represent companies from 37 countries.
Covanta's Rx4Safety program was created out of the urgent need to provide safe, secure and anonymous disposal for unused and expired prescription medications. A lack of a proper outlet for this material has exacerbated the opioid abuse crisis by leaving prescription medication within easy reach for potential misuse, while at the same time putting water supplies at risk of contamination through improper disposal. Covanta recognized that the company's broad footprint of Energy-from-Waste facilities could be vital in helping to address this urgent problem.
Working with local law enforcement and the DEA's bi-annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the Rx4Safety program safely destroys material from collection events organized to prevent drugs from ending up in the wrong hands and to keep them out of public water supplies. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, storing unused medications in homes has contributed to the opioid crisis with 80 percent of heroin users' attributing the start of their addiction to prescription opioids.
The environment is another casualty of improper prescription medication disposal. Typical wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove drugs from drinking water, and according to nationwide testing by the U.S. Geological Survey, nearly 80 percent of waterways show traces of pharmaceuticals.
Covanta took a powerful step in launching the Rx4Safety in 2010 and to this day, it remains the only program of its kind in the nation. Since its inception, the program has collected and safely destroyed over six million pounds of old and unused medication.
"Covanta is honored to be a finalist in S&P Global Platts Global Energy Awards," said Paul Stauder, president of Covanta Environmental Solutions. "Rx4Safety leverages our Energy-from-Waste assets to address the pervasive danger that drugs pose to our neighborhoods and protects our water in the process. This is core to our mission to protect tomorrow for the communities we serve with the decisive actions we take today."
Through Rx4Safety, medications are collected and securely transported to a local Covanta Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facility, deposited into a combustion chamber equipped with state-of-the-art air emissions control equipment and safely destroyed with no adverse impact to the environment. It is a convenient and assured destruction method approved by the DEA.
The amount of prescription drugs collected at Take Back Days continues to increase every year. To meet this need, Covanta has expanded its offerings to include collection kiosks and mail-back envelope services at retail pharmacies and other community health care locations in the United States. For more information visit: www.covanta.com/healthcare-solutions.
Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. Annually, Covanta's modern Energy-from-Waste ("EfW") facilities safely convert approximately 21 million tons of waste from municipalities and businesses into clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle over 600,000 tons of metal. Through a vast network of treatment and recycling facilities, Covanta also provides comprehensive industrial material management services to companies seeking solutions to some of today's most complex environmental challenges. For more information, visit www.covanta.com.
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