U. of WI Extension Receives EPA Grant to "Get the Meds Out

In 2011, the University of Wisconsin Extension was awarded a two-year $800,000 grant from the US EPA to improve the health of the Great Lakes by reducing the amount of waste containing persistent toxic substances with a focus on consumer-generated pharmaceutical waste. The purpose of the grant is to significantly reduce medications entering the environment-the Great Lakes Watershed as well as providing additional safe disposal options throughout the Midwest. The grant has two main parts: first a mail back component for 36 counties in Wisconsin. It builds on an earlier two county pilot UW Extension received in 2008 and modeled after another EPA grant, the Maine’s “Safe Medicine Disposal for ME” program. Maine’s program it is the only program in the nation that has U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency approval to return controlled substances by mail. The mail-back program will serve about 2.5 million people living near the Great Lakes watershed. The second part of the grant is a product stewardship approach that will be developed in concert with state and local governments, the health care industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the public. Wisconsin and four other states (MN, IL, IN, and MI) are collaborating on this effort. Other key partners include the Wisconsin DNR, the Product Stewardship Institute and the Midwest Product Stewardship Council.