Pharmaceuticals are a huge part of the healthcare system. They are used to treat illnesses, manage chronic conditions, and more. Pharmaceutical waste is generated when medications and drug products are leftover, unused, or expired. Based on the medication’s chemical properties and its potential risk to humans and the environment, pharmaceutical waste can be classified as hazardous or non-hazardous.
Proper waste management is critical to safely handling pharmaceuticals. It can be a complex process with strict regulations and confusing requirements. Shred Nations can help you navigate proper disposal, maintain compliance, and keep your community safe.
Classifications of Pharmaceutical Waste
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) oversee the regulations for pharmaceutical waste disposal. The different types can be classified into 4 categories:
Over-the-Counter Drug Waste
This category includes medications that can be purchased without a prescription. Common examples are headache, allergy, and cold medications. Careless disposal can contaminate landfills and water or lead to illness and injury if misused.
This category includes prescription medication. Though they are non-hazardous, these medications still pose a health risk for those who do not clinically need them and can cause environmental damage.
Hazardous drug waste has the potential to cause death, serious illness, or significant damage to the environment if not properly treated, stored, transported, and disposed of. Your waste is considered hazardous if it meets at least one of the following requirements:
- The material is already regulated by your state environmental agency.
- The sole active ingredient in the material is listed as hazardous by RCRA.
- It material contains ingredient(s) that result in the pharmaceutical exhibiting characteristics of hazardous waste (corrosive, reactive/explosive, ignitable, or toxic/radioactive).
Controlled substances are highly addictive, regularly abused, and/or toxic if taken in high amounts. These types of medications must be disposed of within DEA requirements.
Proper Disposal of Pharmaceutical Waste
Pharmaceutical waste generators should be trained on waste segregation, handling, and disposal. When drugs are disposed of incorrectly, it is a threat to the surrounding environment and human health. Shred Nations can help you develop a training and disposal program to properly handle your pharmaceutical waste. We have safe, compliant, and affordable options for non-hazardous, controlled, and hazardous pharmaceutical waste.
Get Free Quotes on Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Services
Maintain legal compliance and protect your community with safe and reliable pharmaceutical waste disposal. Shred Nations can connect you with local waste management companies that are experts in handling medications properly. Get free quotes by calling us at (800) 747-3365, filling out the form on this page, or contacting us directly with our live chat.