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pharmaceutical waste disposal service

Pharmaceutical Waste
Disposal Service

What is Pharmaceutical Waste?

Pharmaceutical waste is defined as any chemical or biological product medicine that is intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, care, treatment, or prevention of disease or injury of a human or other animal. Pharmaceutical waste is one of the most complicated waste streams because of the different regulations for each type of drug disposal. Their are typically 3 different types of "pharm" waste:


  • Hazardous Waste

    • Part 111 of Act 451and the Part 111 rules

      • listed or characteristic hazardous waste​

  • Non-Hazardous Solid Waste

    • Part 115 of Act 451 and the Part 115 rules

      • not hazardous & solid

  • Liquid Industrial By-Product

    • Part 121 of Act 45

      • not hazardous & liquid​

The white, blue and black containers seen throughout pharmacies and healthcare facilities are used to safely store pharmaceutical waste. The pharmaceutical waste is removed on a scheduled basis and replaced with a clean container at every service. At Superior, we are experts in waste classification and segregation. If your clinic needs help with the various pharmaceutical waste regulations, please contact us today. 

Different Names for Pharmaceutical Waste

  • Biohazard Waste

  • Biomedical Waste

  • Healthcare Waste

  • Infectious Waste

  • Clinical Waste

  • Red Bag Waste

  • UN3291 PG II

Examples of Pharmaceutical Waste

  • Sharps

  • Bandages

  • IV Catheters

  • Used Gloves

  • Covid-19 Tests

  • Expired Vaccines

  • Blood saturated Items

Pharmaceutical Waste Producer Best Practices

Prior to producing, storing, or removing your facilities medical waste make sure to contact your local environmental authority for any questions on the regulations and laws. Ask about the handling procedures on Regulated Medical Waste for your particular state. For example, in Michigan, medical waste producers are only allowed to store medical waste up to 90 days before they have to have it properly removed by a licensed medical waste vendor.

sharps & bio anchor

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Who Regulates Pharmaceutical Waste?

Pharmaceutical waste is primarily regulated by state environmental and health departments. However, it is also regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Department of Transportation (DOT), and the The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). There are many hands in this pot but one should contact their state environmental protection agency for more information on pharmaceutical waste regulations.

Why Manage Pharmaceutical Waste Differently than Regular Trash?

Pharmaceutical Waste raises concerns over potential health hazards. Improper treatment of Pharmaceuticals has lead to pollution of our ecosystems. This concern has been growing in the coastal and Great Lakes regions of America. Pharmaceutical pollution is affecting the water supply all over our country. Improper segregation and treatment of these waste streams will put facilities out of compliance, leaving them open to prosecution.


Treatment & Disposal of Pharmaceutical Waste

Most pharmaceutical waste is incinerated. However, their are new technologies to destroy unwanted pharmaceuticals with chemical treatment.  Large generators of pharmaceutical waste are better off having a medical waste hauler ship out their waste on a regular basis for incineration. 

Superior Can Help With All Pharmaceutical Waste Concerns

At Superior Medical Waste, we can help identify your different classes of pharmaceutical wastes and get them to the correct treatment facilities to keep your office compliant with all local and federal hazardous waste laws. If your facility needs help classifying, storing, transporting, or staying compliant with pharmaceutical, infectious, medical,chemo, or other waste streams: contact us today for a free consultation.


Pharmaceutical Waste Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Are unused or expired pharmaceuticals considered Regulated Medical Waste?

A: No, Pharmaceutical waste is not considered regulated medical waste but a pharmaceutical waste or universal waste and it must be handle separately. 

Q: How long can we store Medical Waste before hiring a service to pick it up? 

A: This varies state-to-state. In Michigan, you have up to 1 year to store pharmaceutical waste before having to dispose of it. Contact your local authority to find out how long you can hold onto Pharmaceutical Waste.

Q: Where should our facility store our pharmaceutical waste prior to having our service remove it?

A: You should store your pharmaceutical waste in a lab or closet with a properly labeled door stating that this room is specifically meant for biohazard storage. Ask your Superior Medical Waste Representative for a welcome packet and pharmaceutical waste containers.

Questions Regarding our Services?

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Open bottle with pills falling out
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