Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal
March 25, 2024

Medicines are vital to helping a person recover from an illness as well as a means to manage a chronic illness both in the healthcare systems and patient homes. Safe medication use includes proper pharmaceutical waste disposal methods for all unused medications. If proper pharmaceutical waste disposal management is in place, it will help protect the environment from these hazardous medications getting into the wrong hands.

Environmental Marketing Services provides you with safe, cost-effective, and efficient on-site packing, transportation, and final disposal of all your pharmaceutical waste. These services are available nationwide, except Alaska, Hawaii, and New Jersey.

What is Considered Pharmaceutical Waste?

Leftover, expired, or unused medications that are being discarded are considered pharmaceutical waste. These waste materials are generated when healthcare providers and patients produce medication waste in homes where patients recover from illness or surgery, in healthcare facilities as patients recover from medical procedures, and as patients manage chronic illnesses or other medical conditions. Some of the pharmaceutical waste handled by Environmental Marketing Services include:

DEA Controlled Substances

Schedule 1 drugs, chemicals, or substances that are not accepted for medical use and pose a threat to drug abuse are considered DEA-controlled substances. A few examples of these substances include:

  • Heroin
  • Cannabis
  • Methaqualone
  • Lysergic Acid
  • Ecstasy
  • Peyote

These DEA-controlled substances cannot be discarded in your regular trash receptacle. Talk to the experts at Environmental Marketing Services for disposing of these materials as they must be destroyed and rendered non-retrievable because of the dangers they present to both humans and your environment.

Organic and Inorganic Materials

Organic compounds are complex molecules produced by living organisms. These materials have carbon-hydrogen bonds. Inorganic compounds are simple molecules produced by nonliving components, such as metals. These materials have no carbon-hydrogen bonds.

Most organic compounds come from living things such as animals and plants. These types of compounds can be returned to the environment and their microorganisms will break down. Inorganic waste, however, is the opposite and contains compounds that will have a negative impact on the environment. Inorganic waste disposal is a major issue and should be handled by professionals, such as Environmental Marketing Services. 

Environmental Marketing Services will ensure these waste materials do not pollute bodies of water, the soil, or air, or pose health risks to humans. While organic waste can break down, these materials can also pose threats if not handled properly. Methane emissions will come from these wastes if not composted correctly. Talk to Environmental Marketing Services to learn how your organic and inorganic materials can be disposed of safely and properly.

Biological Substances

Biological substances include materials that are reasonably considered or are considered to contain viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, rickettsiae, or other agents that can cause a disease in either animals or humans. Some forms of biological waste materials can contain bloodborne pathogens that can pose a health threat to humans.

The complex handling of biological substances can be provided by Environmental Marketing Services. These substances and other pharmaceutical waste disposal services are done seamlessly through a team of professionals to ensure these sensitive materials are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. Environmental Marketing Services is committed to environmental sustainability and has a deep understanding of the dangers pharmaceutical waste poses both to humans and the surrounding community.

Pharmaceutical Medications

Pharmaceutical medications include a variety of medications used to cure, treat, diagnose, or prevent a disease or illness. Examples of these medications include:

  • Human blood plasma fractions
  • Steroid hormones
  • Antibiotics
  • Vaccines
  • And more

These medications should never be disposed of in your regular trash, poured down the sink, or flushed down the toilet. Pharmaceutical waste disposal of medications should be handled by professionals such as Environmental Marketing Services because they can potentially pose health risks to humans, animals, and the environment.

Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal and Lab Packing

Lab packing for pharmaceutical waste disposal involves packing chemicals into smaller containers and then placing those containers inside a large drum. Typically in a lab packing process, the larger, outside container is a 55-gallon drum.

Laboratories and other industries that produce chemical waste use lab packing as a cost-effective and convenient means to ship their hazardous chemicals off-site. When done properly and with the help of professionals, such as Environmental Marketing Services, generators of these hazardous materials are given peace of mind that their chemical waste has been marked, packed, and disposed of under state and federal guidelines.

A lab packing procedure involves consolidating substances and chemicals and then preparing them for the safest and best possible course of disposal. There are different types of lab packs used depending on your facility’s waste materials. Depending on which chemical waste has been placed in the lab pack will determine its disposal method. Some are recycled, and others are incinerated, or placed in a landfill after being specially neutralized, treated, or stabilized.

Chemical Waste Transported in Lab Packs

Some of the common chemical waste placed in lab packs for disposal include:

  • Solvents
  • Acids, reagents, bases
  • Compressed gases and aerosols
  • Pyrophoric or explosive materials, or those that are toxic, flammable, or corrosive
  • Oxidizers
  • Disinfecting and cleaning agents
  • TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) chemicals
  • Radioactive materials
  • Reactive materials from metals
  • Organic peroxides
  • DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) substances
  • Paints, inks, dyes, paint thinners, and varnish strippers
  • Mixed waste
  • Universal wastes
  • Unlabeled or unknown containers

These chemical waste materials can all be disposed of properly and safely in large quantities under federal guidelines through a lab packing process. Federal guidelines also include different hazard classes. It can become quite dangerous when packing groups of hazardous waste, therefore this process should be done by, or overseen by, a trained individual or service, such as Environmental Marketing Service. 

When lab pack chemicals are prepared, it must be done under the DOT (Department of Transportation) hazmat shipping regulations, as well as the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) lab pack treatment standards. The materials must be grouped in the same container and then marked with the proper shipping names, such as ‘Not Otherwise Specified’, or ‘Waste Flammable Liquids.’

When using lab packing for pharmaceutical waste disposal there are certain exceptions to hazardous waste transportation rules. These exceptions provide relief from having to use technical names for combination packages or from having to acquire a hazmat certification. These exceptions also make the lab packing process to safely ship excess, delicate, or expired chemicals more simpler for facilities that generate hazardous pharmaceutical waste.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities generate a lot of hazardous materials. From pathological and infectious waste such as human tissue and bodily fluids, to sharp objects and chemical waste, such as syringes and disinfectants. Pharmaceutical waste disposal at a hospital involves a unique set of hazards. These hazards can also involve the disposal of radioactive or pharmaceutical waste such as expired drugs. The lab pack process allows hospitals and other healthcare facilities to safely discard large quantities of pharmaceutical waste daily.

Environmental Benefits of Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Through Lab Packs

Lab packs not only keep people safe from hazardous substances, but they also protect the environment from harm. If hazardous materials are discarded in regular trash or dumped down the drain, it could potentially endanger human lives and the environment. Improper pharmaceutical waste disposal can directly create health risks by releasing toxins into the environment.

Possible health risks are created if untreated pharmaceutical waste ends up in a landfill and contaminates ground, drinking, and surface waters. Treatment of pharmaceutical waste with chemical disinfectants can also release chemical substances into the environment if these harmful substances are not properly handled, stored, and disposed of in an environmentally sound process.

The experts at Environmental Marketing Services understand these complex procedures. We stand as a beacon of excellence in waste management.

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