Why You Shouldn’t Put Pharmaceuticals into the Medical Waste Box

Posted by | April 28, 2015 10:00 AM

Pharmaceuticals are important to the health and well-being of the general public. In fact, medications serve a crucial role in the treatment of many life-threatening diseases. However, when they’re disposed of improperly, these same medicines can endanger countless lives. That’s why it is so essential that you know the precise protocol for the destruction of unused drugs.

Environmental Concerns

When pharmaceuticals are carelessly thrown away, they can affect our environment in an unsafe manner. Sadly, there is documented evidence of these medications and their constituents in both drinking water and groundwater. As a result, the scientific community is growing more and more concerned about the possibility of long-term health consequences for world populations in the years to come.

For this reason, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires the appropriate elimination of potentially hazardous waste. By ensuring that these drugs aren’t circulating in our natural habitat, millions of lives can be saved in the United States and beyond.

Proper Rx Disposal

It’s critical that you know exactly how to classify pharmaceuticals for their suitable destruction. However, this task may seem confusing since prescription medications can be placed in different categories. But the best approach is to consider RCRA guidelines, which separate the pharmaceuticals into two groups.

If a medication falls under the RCRA hazardous waste category, it must be disposed of according to the mandated state and federal laws. These pharmaceuticals are highly dangerous and should be destroyed in a way that meets the criteria for hazardous waste.

Medications that aren’t regulated under RCRA usually receive the title of non-RCRA hazardous pharmaceuticals. Drugs of this sort are often disposed of by incineration at a facility that’s allowed to accept medicines of this type.

Since non-RCRA hazardous waste can be incinerated, it’s imperative that they are not included in red bags or sharps containers. That’s because sharps waste may be treated with methods that don’t involve incineration. Therefore, non-RCRA hazardous waste should be segregated from sharps and placed into dedicated containers. This simple step can make sure the right disposal method is used for every kind of medical waste.

In addition to preventing the spread of disease and preserving our natural resources, observance of proper disposal rules is financially wise for your office. EPA penalties for noncompliance can range from $10,000 to $25,000 per violation per day. You might even face jail time. So it’s imperative to be aware of pharmaceutical disposal laws and adhere to the recommended best practices.

MedPro can simplify this process for you with our Rx disposal service; this service offers a cost effective solution for destruction of your unwanted pharmaceuticals, in compliance with state and federal regulations. All containers are liquid tight screw tops, including one tug-tie for mail back security. We have controlled and non-controlled disposal options, you can find these in our store at http://www.medpromail.com . If you would like more information on this service you can give us a call at 888-641-6131 or get a free quote.

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