Medical Waste Pros is Here to Help With the Safe Handling of Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste
Disposing of pharmaceuticals properly is critical—not only is pharmaceutical waste regulated by state and federal laws, but there’s a huge risk of harmful medications affecting the environment.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a healthcare facility, hospital, or retail pharmacy, or even if you’re disposing of expired medications at home- certain precautions need to be taken to ensure your organization is compliant and not affecting their environment with improper pharmaceutical disposal.
Medical Waste Pros can help ensure your company is compliant and that you have the proper program in place for the amount of pharmaceutical waste you produce. We’ll provide you with containers, schedule a regular pickup or set up your mail-back pill bottle recycling service, and eliminate the risk of harmful medications affecting your patients, staff, and the environment.
Our Pharmaceutical Waste Management Services
Regularly Scheduled Pickups
If you have a significant amount of pharmaceuticals to dispose of, our regularly scheduled service allows you to plan for ongoing pickup of medical waste. We schedule a time with your facility and will pick up and dispose of your pharmaceuticals based on your schedule, no matter if it’s daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
We offer on-call service for emergencies or facilities that don’t need pharmaceutical pickups regularly (or only have a small amount that needs to be collected periodically). This service is identical to our regularly scheduled service but can be scheduled periodically whenever you need it.
For small businesses and residents that have smaller quantities of pharmaceuticals and medications, a medication drop-off location is the most convenient and cost-effective solution for you. Find a location near you through our directory.
Pill Bottle Recycling
A mail-back pill bottle recycling service is another safe, secure option to dispose of your medical waste properly. Utilizing a mail-back system is an efficient way to collect, return, and recycle your empty pill bottles.
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What is Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste?
Any expired, unused, or unneeded pharmaceuticals are going to be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency along with your State Health Department. The things in pharmaceuticals that help people can be just as hazardous to the environment. Since most medicines are high concentrations, and those concentrations generally don’t degrade over time, there’s a tremendous danger if they’re not disposed of properly.
Certain requirements must be met for a pharmaceutical to be classified as hazardous waste:
- The sole active ingredient in the pharmaceutical that needs to be disposed of is listed by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as a hazardous waste,
- It contains ingredient(s) that result in the pharmaceutical exhibiting characteristics of hazardous waste (ignitable, corrosive, reactive/explosive, or toxic/radioactive), which requires that it be treated as hazardous waste under RCRA.
- The material is already regulated by your state environmental agency.
If any or all of these items apply, you should take the proper steps to ensure you are disposing of them properly. That’s where Medical Waste Pros can help!
How Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Services Work
- Contact Medical Waste Pros at (888) 755-6370, fill out the form, or use the live chat to connect to one of our medical waste disposal experts.
- Tell us about your medical waste disposal project with details like the type of medical waste you have and how much.
- We will connect you to safe and reliable medical waste disposal companies in your area equipped to handle your specific needs. They will send you free quotes on your project.
- Choose the provider that best meets your needs and budget. You will then connect with the provider you choose and set up your disposal services, whether it’s one-time, recurring, or mail-back.
- Your service provider will come to pick up your pharmaceuticals or empty pill bottles and properly dispose of them at their secure facility.
Why the Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs is Important
Healthcare workers, including pharmacists, nurses, and other staff, are at risk of exposure to hazardous drugs during various stages of handling, such as preparation, administration, and disposal. Safe handling practices, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper containment measures, help minimize the risk of occupational exposure and protect the health of healthcare professionals.
Hazardous drugs can pose environmental risks if not handled and disposed of properly. Contamination of water sources, soil, and air can occur, affecting ecosystems and potentially harming wildlife. Safe handling practices minimize the environmental impact of hazardous drug use.
Regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have established guidelines and regulations for the safe handling of hazardous drugs. Compliance with these regulations is essential to avoid legal consequences and penalties.
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Pharmaceutical Disposal FAQs
Which pharmaceuticals are considered hazardous waste?
Some examples of pharmaceuticals that may be considered hazardous waste include:
- Chemotherapy Drugs
- Warfarin and Other Anticoagulants
- Nicotine Replacement Therapies
- Certain Antibiotics and Antimicrobials
- Certain Hazardous Chemicals
- Narcotics and Controlled Substances
- Hormones and Steroids
Can’t we just flush our pharmaceuticals?
No, you can’t flush every type of medication. Once one of your pharmaceuticals has expired or you no longer need it, it’s important to check if it contains a hazardous chemical that needs a specific disposal method so it won’t contaminate the environment. You can also check out the FDA’s Flush List to see which medications are okay to flush that won’t harm the environment.
What do I do with empty pill bottles?
Pill bottles can instead be taken to a local recycling center that accepts #5 plastics to be exclusively disposed of. Medical Waste Pros also offers a mail-back option. With the help of Ship N Shred, you can safely recycle all of your empty pill bottles. All you have to do is fill a box with your empty pill bottles, go to Ship N Shred’s website to follow the ordering instructions and schedule a pickup from FedEx. Your pill bottles will be picked up and taken to a secure facility for safe disposal and recycling. With this service, you can track the process from start to finish.
How do I keep my healthcare facility in compliance with pharmaceutical waste regulations?
To remain in compliance, you need to be vigilant- there are several telltale signs that your organization might be at risk for improperly disposing of pharmaceuticals.
- If you ask employees about the details of your pharmaceutical disposal program, would they be able to tell you? The most common violation is improper or inefficient training, which leads to mislabeling or mishandling.
- Are you disposing of unused liquid or any other pharmaceuticals by flushing them down the drain (also known as sewering)? Knowingly dumping hazardous waste can result in jail time!
- Have you been diligent in ensuring that pharmaceuticals listed by RCRA aren’t being mixed with other nonhazardous materials? One violation can lead to heavy fines.
- Do you have an emergency contingency plan in place? What happens if disaster strikes?
What other types of medical waste do you handle?
How much does a medical waste disposal service cost?
The price of your medical waste disposal service will depend on the method you choose, the type of waste you have, the amount of waste you have, and other factors. When you contact us with the details of your project, our service providers will send you accurate price quotes for your specific needs.
Does Medical Waste Pros use safe medical waste disposal methods?
Yes, all of our service providers follow all state and federal regulations when it comes to disposing of medical waste. They use methods such as autoclaving, chemical treatments, and EPA-approved incineration.
Can I just throw my medical waste away?
No, you can’t throw away medical waste. There are state and federal laws, including OSHA, FDA, DOT, and the EPA, that regulate how to dispose of medical waste. These regulations were put in place for your safety, in terms of the environment and health effects of improper disposal.