The Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires the safeguarding of personal health information (PHI). This includes the storage and then destruction of the information. You would be hard pressed to find a hospital or doctors office that doesn’t have a shred bin under every desk. Paper shredding is easy and streamlined.
One place where PHI is more difficult to dispose of is when it is printed on pill bottles. The label is normally under clear tape which makes it very difficult to remove. This makes it too
expensive to spend the time to cut each label off. There needs to be a more efficient solution.
The good news is that most shredding services can shred your pill bottles as well as your paper.
An industrial shredder is built for destroying about anything so shredding some plastic pill bottles is not a problem. However, pill bottles do require a bit of preparation before they can be shredded. The obvious one is that the medicine must be removed from the bottle. It is a controlled substance and when shredded the pills will turn to dust. Obviously this medical dust would be dangerous to the employees at the shredding plant. So the first step is to dispose of the medicine in the bottles with the rest of the hazardous waste.
The next step is optional; that is separating the pill bottles from the rest of the paper. It can be left in with the paper to be shredded at the same time. The shredder can handle the work but the plastic of the bottles will make the paper difficult to recycle. As a result the load will have to be taken to the landfill instead of being recycled. This will make the shredding charges higher.
A better solution is to have a separate box for the pill bottles. It you don’t get many then a good solution is to use Ship ‘n’ Shred once the box gets full. If you collect a significant amount of bottles then let your shredder know and they will make arrangements to shred them separately. This covers the requirements for HIPAA and allows all the paper to still be recycled.