Proper pharmaceutical waste handling and disposal is critical for healthcare facilities and pharmacies. Some improper practices include the mischaracterization, storage, transportation and disposal of drug wastes, as well as not following regulatory training requirements. Besides the fiscal implications, these seemingly small things can lead to additional environmental impacts such as air pollutants, contaminated drinking water, damaged aquatic life and ecosystems.
Educate your staff
Companies that deal in the pharmaceutical market need educated staff. Holding workshops, having meetings, and creating guidelines are crucial to ensuring staff members are informed on your company’s disposal policies. Cross educating your staff on various subjects, especially the legal side of pharmaceutical disposal and EPA regulations will give you and your employees comfort in knowing that the handling of pharmaceutical waste is being done methodically. The difference between hazardous waste, regulated medical waste, and nonhazardous waste is a topic that you can discuss that will help your employees sustain an eco-friendly work environment. There are consequences for improper waste disposal and they can be avoided if proper waste disposal is taught and practiced.
Conduct a Waste Audit
A great practice to ensure the proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste is to conduct your own waste audit. The first step should be to identify the various waste streams generated, then identify ways to minimize waste. Creating collection containers for waste is a great start! Pharmaceutical waste has a cost, so an efficient waste disposal plan along with minimizing your waste will cost you less! A waste disposal plan will help to ensure proper storage, labeling, transport and disposal of the various waste streams created.
Waste minimization in a pharmacy setting:
- Set par levels for purchasing to determine appropriate amount on inventory to keep on hand. Don’t forget to take into account the amount of pharmaceuticals that are returned to the Reverse Distributor.
- When given the opportunity, select manufacturers with a more liberal or advantageous returns policy.
Removal of Waste in a Timely Manner
Improper disposal of pharmaceutical waste can cause hazards to health and the environment. Flushing of pharmaceuticals can be potentially harmful to marine life and other wildlife. Pharmaceutical waste stored for long periods of time at a pharmacy may be an opportunity for diversion. Pharmaceutical waste is best disposed of in a timely manner. Maintaining close inventory timelines as well as inventory control are the best way be sure that no problems occur. Creating reminders, timelines, and/or spreadsheets of expiration dates can prove to be both cost effective and eco-friendly.
NPR Can Help
The environments health, your business’ well-being, your health and the public’s health are important, which is why pharmaceutical drug disposal should be done properly. National Pharmaceutical Returns offers various services to help you improve your waste practices. NPR has holding and storage services and can even dispose of your pharmaceuticals for you. Call 1-(800) 470-7725 for questions about your pharmaceutical needs.