Properly disposing of pharmaceutical waste materials is not only a federal regulation to follow but also essential to protecting ourselves and our environment. Pharmaceutical waste disposal companies provide a simple and cost-effective solution to a complicated procedure that could get you fined if done improperly.
Why Proper Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal is Important
There is a long list of reasons why pharmaceutical waste management is essential to upkeep. Pharmaceutical waste refers to any waste left over from unused or expired medication, and the following are some categories of pharmaceutical waste:
- DEA Controlled Pharmaceuticals
- RCRA Hazardous Pharmaceuticals
- Non-Regulated Pharmaceuticals
- Non-Hazardous Pharmaceuticals
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers about five to ten percent of these materials to be hazardous. What this means is that active ingredients and chemicals in pharmaceutical waste harm the environment since they don’t get removed in wastewater, effectively damaging the water supply and aquatic habitats with marine animals and the food chain.
Washing medications down sinks, flushing them in toilets, and tossing them in the trash are just a few of the ways to improperly dispose of pharmaceutical waste. Penalties for violations are severe, with fines ranging from $22,500 to $93,000 as of 2018 outlined by the EPA and RCRA.
To avoid these penalties as well as protect the environment, we will review how to properly dispose of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals in this blog.
How to Dispose of Pharmaceutical Waste
The first step to properly disposing of pharmaceutical waste is to separate it from biohazardous waste—such as infectious waste, waste from a patient with an infectious disease, empty vials from vaccines, animal waste, pathological waste, sharps waste, laboratory items, and soiled gloves, surgical masks, gauze, etc. It’s crucial that you do not put pharmaceutical waste in a red bioharzardous waste container.
You then must follow regulations set by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and remove controlled substances to have them collected and transported to be destroyed or returned to manufacturer. Another essential part of this is that a distributor must be licensed to handle paperwork and waste collection.
Chemotherapy waste also must be disposed of by emptying medication vials, IV tubes, and staffs’ medical gloves. These waste materials need to be placed in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliant yellow container to indicate its content for proper waste disposal.
Medications with hazardous chemicals are outlined by the Resource of Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and they need to be stored in a black containers for medical waste disposal.
After the steps above are followed, all other remaining materials need to disposed of in a white container with a blue lid. Categorizing medical waste help check that materials are isolated and managed properly based the contents’ materials, ensuring that environmental requirements are met with medical waste disposal.
As you see from these steps outlined above, proper pharmaceutical waste disposal is tedious and complicated, but it is a necessity to running a healthcare facility. While you could potentially handle all of these matters internally, it is recommended that you hire a licensed biomedical waste disposal service to assist you and your facility with properly disposing of the materials.
A Partner You Can Trust
The benefit of partnering with pharmaceutical waste disposal companies is that they take care of most of the complicated work for you. These companies will handle the collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of medical waste to follow federal regulations, keeping the public and environment safe.
MedCycle offers a complete array of biomedical waste disposal services and compliance training. From family practice clinics to large medical facilities, we provide the most cost-effective waste disposal solution with unparalleled customer service.
We take great pride in offering a careful and safe approach to waste disposal that follows safety protocols, designed and approved by OSHA. MedCycle disposes of regulated waste following the safest procedures for both the environment and our personnel. We handle biohazard disposal, medical records shredding, sharps disposal, pathological waste, harzardous waste, and dental waste.
Our team provides comprehensive biohazardous waste management. Our range of services offered include same-day hazardous material removal, regularly scheduled medical waste collections, and online certification to manage your HIPAA, OSHA, and EPA compliance. Plus, you can get instant online access to your electronic medical waste manifests for easy record management.
MedCycle also provides regulated medical waste generators in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio with great customer service, custom pickup plans, and a wide array of services. Contact our team about our safe medical waste disposal services and request a free quote today.