The pharmaceutical industry generates a huge amount of clinical waste each year. The majority of this waste is classified as general medical waste and can be disposed of via local authority refuse collection services. However, a small percentage of medical waste is classified as hazardous and must be disposed of via specialist waste management companies.
There are five main types of hazardous medical waste:
1. Infectious Waste
Infectious waste is any kind of waste that is contaminated with microorganisms or viruses that can cause infection in humans or animals. This type of waste includes items such as used syringes, bandages, and dressings, as well as any other waste that has come into contact with bodily fluids.
Infectious waste must be disposed of in a specialized way to prevent the spread of infection. This usually involves sterilization or incineration.
2. Chemotherapy Waste
Chemotherapy waste is any hazardous waste that is contaminated with cytotoxic drugs. Chemotherapy drugs are used to treat cancer and other diseases. They can be very toxic to humans and the environment.
Chemotherapy waste must be disposed of properly to protect people and the environment. Chemotherapy waste can be disposed of in a specialized medical waste disposal company.
3. Controlled Drugs
Controlled drugs are drugs that have been classified as illegal or dangerous by the government. They are usually only available on prescription and must be kept in a secure place, such as a locked cupboard or safe.
Disposing of controlled drugs is a little different from other types of medical waste. You can’t just put them in the bin or flush them down the toilet. Instead, you need to return them to a pharmacy or a controlled drugs disposal point.
4. Manufacturing Waste
This type of pharmaceutical waste includes any waste that is generated during the manufacturing process of pharmaceuticals. This type of waste can be either solid or liquid and can be hazardous or non-hazardous.
Some examples of manufacturing waste include:
- Waste from the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs)
- Waste from the production of finished pharmaceutical products
- Waste from the packaging of pharmaceutical products
- Waste from the labeling of pharmaceutical products
- Waste from the testing of pharmaceutical products
5. Radioactive Waste
This type of pharmaceutical waste includes any waste that is radioactive. This type of waste can be either solid or liquid and can be hazardous or non-hazardous.
Some examples of radioactive waste include:
- Waste from the production of radiopharmaceuticals
- Waste from the use of radiopharmaceuticals
- Waste from the disposal of radiopharmaceuticals
- Waste from the decommissioning of nuclear facilities
How to Dispose of Pharmaceutical Waste
The process of disposing of pharmaceutical waste is not as simple as it may seem, and as mentioned earlier, it is best to consult with a specialist company to ensure that your waste is properly disposed of.
Pharmaceutical waste is classified as hazardous waste, and all waste that is classified as hazardous must be disposed of in a specific way to ensure the safety of the environment and the public.
Hazardous waste must be disposed of by a specialist company that is licensed to handle and dispose of hazardous waste. This is because there are strict regulations surrounding the disposal of hazardous waste, and the company must have the correct permits and licenses in place to be able to dispose of it legally.
A specialist company will be able to collect your pharmaceutical waste and transport it to a licensed waste disposal site, where it will be disposed of legally and safely.
If you are unsure of how to approach pharmaceutical waste management, it is always best to speak to a specialist company to ensure that your waste is disposed of correctly.
Proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste is essential to protect public health and the environment. There are several ways to dispose of pharmaceutical waste, and the most appropriate method will depend on the type and quantity of waste.
Some pharmaceutical waste can be disposed of through household waste collection schemes, while other waste will need to be taken to a pharmacy or healthcare facility for disposal. Hazardous pharmaceutical waste should always be disposed of through a licensed waste contractor.
United Medical Waste Management is the largest independently-owned provider of waste services in New England. If you need hazardous waste disposal services, get in touch with us today!