When it comes to disposing of pharmaceuticals of any kind, it is a big “no, no” to flush prescriptions down the toilet or sink. Doing so can increase the risk of contaminating ground water. It is also not a good practice to throw said pharmaceuticals in the trash. Landfills are already overflowing with dangerous items, and there is a possibility for them to end up in the wrong hands. The EPA and other governing agencies have been hard at work over the past couple of years putting together policies to protect our environment and the human race alike.
What does this mean for your business or facility? Check out the following frequently asked questions about pharmaceutical waste disposal and waste management to learn more about how you can help your place of work and your environment.
ARE ALL PHARMACEUTICALS CONSIDERED HAZARDOUS WASTE?
Depending on the state in which you live, not all pharmaceutical waste is considered a hazardous waste. Even though a particular type of pharmaceutical waste may not be considered “hazardous”, pharmaceuticals can still be harmful and that is why it is very important to dispose of, transport, and eliminate pharmaceutical waste properly. Pharmaceuticals contain many different types of chemicals combinations and disposing of multiple pharmaceuticals can possibly cause major damage if not disposed of properly.
CAN PHARMACEUTICAL WASTE BE “RED BAGGED”?
The simple answer is “no.” As mentioned earlier, pharmaceutical waste often contains many different chemicals and chemical combinations; therefore, it is considered a hazardous chemical waste. Red bagged waste contains bio-hazardous waste and is most commonly placed in an autoclave, microwave, or incinerator until the waste is considered harmless.
Hazardous chemical waste, such as pharmaceutical waste, must be disposed of by placing the waste into an incinerator which is brought to a temperature that is so high that it can literally break down the chemical composition of the waste.
CAN ALL PHARMACEUTICAL WASTE BE PLACED IN THE SAME DISPOSAL CONTAINER?
This is where things can begin to become a little tricky. Pharmaceutical waste comes in many different forms including liquid, powder, and solids. If you paid any attention in chemistry class, then you know that when you join certain chemicals together, chemical reactions occur. That is why it is very important that certain pharmaceuticals be separated in separate containers based on certain characteristics of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity.
WHY IS PHARMACEUTICAL WASTE DISPOSAL IMPORTANT?
The proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste is important for many reasons. Some of the top reasons for proper disposal include the health of workers and patients, the facility’s reputation, and the facility’s bottom dollar due to increased fines being imposed if hazardous waste is not disposed of properly.
Managemed understands the policies and regulations that surround medical waste removal and medical waste disposal. Let Managemed take the hassle and stress out of managing your facility’s medical waste flow.
We offer safe, compliant, and affordable solutions customized to fit your needs. Give Managemed a call today at 844.383.8933 to learn more about our flexible and nationwide medical waste programs.