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EPA kicks off Great Lakes Earth Day Challenge in Allen County, Ind., to encourage proper disposal of unwanted medications

Release Date: 04/21/2008
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov Craig Voros, 260-449-7335, craig.voros@co.allen.in.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 08-OPA069

(Chicago, Ill. - April 21, 2008) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 officials joined Fort Wayne, Allen County and private sector officials this afternoon at Walgreen's on State and Wells to kick off EPA's Great Lakes Earth Day Challenge to encourage Great Lakes basin residents to properly dispose of unwanted medications. Walgreen's has agreed to allow its drugstores to serve as medication drop-off sites.

Acting Air and Radiation Division Director Cheryl Newton presented a $24,700 check to Allen County Solid Waste Management District Director Tony Burrus and Jean Joley of the Allen County TRIAD. The grant will help fund the county's media campaign to encourage local residents to safely dispose of expired and unused medication. Doing so will help prevent contamination of the Great Lakes. Allen County Commissioner Linda Bloom also spoke. Other local representatives present were Steve Stone of the Sheriff's office and Todd Battershell of the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Newton presented an EPA certificate to Greg Smith of Walgreen's in recognition of the company's participation as a partner in EPA's Smartway clean-diesel program.

An unwanted medication collection will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 25, at seven Walgreen drug stores in Allen County. The stores are at Clinton Street at St. Joe Center Road, West Jefferson at Getz Road, Bluffton Road at Lower Huntington Road, State Street at Wells Street, Lincoln Highway West at Brookwood (New Haven), Chapel Ridge at 10170 Maysville Road and 1701 E. Paulding Road at South Anthony Boulevard.

"EPA is counting on thousands of people in the Great Lakes basin to do their part and find a nearby collection event where they can safely get rid of their unused medicine," said EPA Great Lakes National Program Manager and Region 5 Administrator Mary A. Gade. "It's a win-win situation for the public and for the Great Lakes ecosystem. This is an easy way for everyone to take part in protecting the Great Lakes."

"The Allen County Solid Waste Management District is proud to be part of this collaborative partnership that will heighten awareness for proper medication disposal diverting drugs from county water systems," said ACSWMD Director Tony Burrus.

So far, more than 70 organizations, communities and businesses across the Great Lakes basin have stepped up and responded to EPA's Great Lakes Earth Day Challenge to collect and properly dispose of unused, expired or unwanted medicine and old electronics or "e- waste." EPA's goal is to collect at least 1 million pills and 1 million pounds of electronic waste to keep contaminants out of the Great Lakes. (Not all communities, including Fort Wayne, will have electronic waste events.)

The Great Lakes are an irreplaceable treasure. They are the largest source of fresh drinking water on earth and vital to commerce and recreation in the upper Midwest. Responsible recycling and disposal of unwanted medicine and electronics will prevent contaminants from polluting the Great Lakes basin.

More information on the Great Lakes Earth Day Challenge is at http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/earthday2008. Share ideas on EPA's blog at http://flowoftheriver.epa.gov/greatlakeschallenge. More information on EPA's Smartway program is at http://www.epa.gov/smartway.

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