Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

MWR provides pharmaceutical waste disposal services in Michigan. We provide safe systems for the management and containment of pharmaceutical waste.

Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

Pharmaceutical waste is one of the various kinds of medical waste disposal and must be taken seriously. Like other medical waste, pharmaceutical waste requires specific methods for safe disposal. While pharmaceutical waste did not require proper disposal in the past, pharmaceutical waste in water bodies of water presented another picture. It led to formulation of particular laws regarding pharmaceutical waste disposal.

What Is Pharmaceutical Waste?

Pharmaceutical waste is any waste material that contains drugs and might (or might not) come from the hospital compounding area. It usually refers to the expired, contaminated, or residual drugs that are being discarded. Pharmaceutical waste also constitutes unused drugs that are not needed anymore.

What Does Pharmaceutical Waste Comprise?

Pharmaceutical waste in pharmacies and hospitals consists of drugs and basic materials like IV tubing or vials. The following are regarded as pharmaceutical waste:

  • Tablets and capsules
  • Syrups and lozenges
  • Medicated creams and ointments
  • Vitamins
  • Inhalers
  • Vaccines
  • Transdermal patches
  • Vials with residual drug

IV tubing with any remaining amount of drug

Classification of Pharmaceutical Waste

Pharmaceutical waste is divided into two categories apart from sharps waste disposal and regular trash. These two categories are:

  • Non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste
  • Hazardous pharmaceutical waste

Non-hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste

Non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste is less than dangerous than hazardous waste, yet it should still be disposed of properly. The following drugs and material are usually classified as non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste:

  • Antibiotics
  • OTC medicines
  • Contraceptives
  • Hormones

Though they are non-hazardous in nature, they should still be disposed of in specific containers designated by the state laws.

Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste

Hazardous pharmaceutical waste consists of drugs that can be harmful if inhaled or taken in by any means. These include:

  • P-listed drugs (Warfarin, Nicotine, Epinephrine, Nitroglycerin, Phentermine, Physostigmine salicylate, Physostigmine, and Arsenic trioxide)
  • U-listed drugs (Warfarin, Mercury, Mitomycin, Streptozotocin, Melphalan, Uracil mustard, Trichloromonofluromethane, Lindane, Chlorambucil, Cyclophosphamide, Chloral hydrate, Diethylstilbestrol, Paraldehyde, Reserpine, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Hexachlorophene, Resorcinol, Daunomycin, Selenium sulfide, and Phenol)
  • Drugs consisting of heavy metal (including thimerosal)

Epinephrine is the most common hazardous pharmaceutical waste.

Pharmaceutical waste disposal containers

Similar to the disposal of other medical waste, pharmaceutical waste management in Michigan also requires specific containers not to confuse different kinds of waste. Pharmaceutical waste such as used tubing or drugs should not be thrown into regular trash bins. At MWR Michigan, we provide the proper, safe bins that are up to modern FDA code.

Treatment of Pharmaceutical Waste

Pharmaceutical waste should be managed and disposed of properly to ensure rational drug use and avoiding abuse. The leftover drugs can either be misused or taken intentionally, causing major issues. The pharmaceutical waste should be treated chemically before dumping to change the chemical structure of the medicines before disposal. While it is not possible at home, hospitals and healthcare facilities are expected to treat the waste.

While there are other options, incineration is the best practice. Incineration is the process of combustion of organic compounds and is used widely for treating medical waste. Medicines containing heavy metal and without any active ingredients do not burn easily and are not appropriate for incineration. MWR works tirelessly to make sure the waste is disposed of properly and safely.

Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Michigan

If you are in Michigan and do not have an adequate pharmaceutical waste disposal facility, MWR offers proper disposal for pharmaceutical waste. We can also guide you on how to classify the waste and dispose of it to ensure safety of healthcare and sanitary workers. Contact us today for a free quote!