The Leading Company of Pharmaceutical Disposal and Management in El Paso
Pharmaceutical waste requires proper pharmaceutical management and disposal services. Mediwaste Disposal is proud to offer these services to pharmacies and medical facilities in the El Paso region and beyond.
Breaking Down Pharmaceutical Waste — What You Need to Know
In simple terms, pharmaceutical waste is leftover, expired, or tainted prescription medicine or substances. Regulatory agencies would categorize pharmaceutical waste as any chemical or biological product used for the treatment or diagnosis of medical conditions in humans and animals. There are both federal and state regulations that control the segregation, treatment, and proper disposal of said substances. Pharmaceutical waste can include:
Chemical residue from medical manufacturing plants
Unused products from pharmaceutical plants
Solid materials used to clean chemical residue
Unused drugs that contain opiates or morphine
Receptacles like pill bottles, liquid medicine containers, etc.
Classification of Pharmaceutical Waste for Proper Removal
Pharmaceutical waste—like other types of regulated medical waste—is divided into categories to facilitate its segregation and proper disposal. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), passed in 1976, helped regulate pharmaceutical waste and classified it according to its properties and chemical characteristics.
The law detailed certain chemicals as “hazardous.” Their list included solvents like acetone, ethanol, benzene, and more. Their list also categorizes certain products from the manufacturing process as harmful, like wastewater from chemical production plants, spent solvents, wastes containing dioxins, and more.
Pharmaceutical Waste Classification is essential to determining what type of pharmaceutical waste you generate at your facility. New EPA regulations and information in EPA Subpart P outline requirements for hazardous pharmaceutical waste management.
When it comes to pharmaceuticals, there are usually two main categories that include hazardous and non-hazardous.
Hazardous Pharmaceuticals — Managed with Black Bins
This might refer to liquids or solids that contain harmful properties and pose a risk to human health and/or the environment. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) categorizes several substances as “hazardous,” including arsenic trioxide, nitroglycerin, etc. Specific management is outlined in EPA – Subpart P. The standard is to segregate hazardous materials in black bins.
Non-Hazardous Pharmaceuticals — Managed with Blue Bins
This may refer to wastes produced in pharmacies and medical facilities that may not necessarily contain hazardous chemicals or substances under RCRA classification. These are not governed by RCRA laws or fall under their “hazardous” category, but still pose risks and should be disposed of adequately. These are typically separated in blue bins.
Controlled Substances – Managed with RX Destroyer or a similar product to ensure any controlled substances “waste” are rendered unretrievable per DEA guidelines.
Why is Proper Pharmaceutical Disposal Necessary?
Several regulatory bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have various directives and suggestions on the proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste.
It is ultimately the responsibility of the waste generator to determine when such pharmaceuticals are hazardous. Discarded pharmaceuticals may be deemed hazardous waste if they are defined as a product listed under RCRA's P or U listings, or in cases where the pharmaceutical exhibits one or more characteristics of hazardous waste. Failure to properly identify hazardous pharmaceutical waste may incur fines and penalties.
The reason is to work towards the prevention of contamination of water supplies, soil, or the environment in general. The law aims to protect healthcare workers and other workers that may come into contact with these wastes. Some of the chemicals and materials found in these hazardous and non-hazardous pharmaceutical materials can pose a risk to a community when dealing with highly addictive or harmful substances.
Improper disposal not only results in unnecessary risks to communities and natural habitats but comes with hefty penalties and fines from the various regulatory agencies that oversee proper pharmaceutical disposal. Pharmacies across the country must comply with the regulations and standards as set by their localities, state, and federal government.
Ensuring Proper Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal
All pharmaceutical waste can pose a risk and must therefore be disposed of properly so as not to contaminate water supplies, the environment, workers, or natural habitats. To prevent this, proper segregation at the facility, transportation, treatment, and disposal is necessary.
Here, at Mediwaste Disposal, we take care of the process from start to finish. We ensure:
Proper pharmaceutical waste classification and formulary review.
Safe and reliable transportation of the materials out of your facility.
Proper treatment of hazardous and non-hazardous materials. Many hazardous chemicals require treatment with incineration to comply with federal law.
Complete disposal of materials in our own waste facilities.
Rest Easy with Dependable Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Services
Whether you are a veterinary clinic, pharmacy, or medical manufacturing plant, you want to find reliable services that make your facility’s life easier. We take care of hazardous and non-hazardous pharmaceutical disposal. All you need to do is give us a call and set up a pick-up time. We take care of the rest.
Need an experienced pharmaceutical disposal company to get rid of your medical waste? Call us today.