Pharmacies produce a variety of waste types, and it's imperative that they give forethought and planning to their hazardous waste disposal programs. Without that careful thought and consideration, pharmacies could find themselves out of compliance with federal and state laws, which brings with it a laundry list of potential consequences. The best course of action, therefore, is to thoroughly learn what's required of you as a pharmacy and then reach out to reputable, experienced hazardous waste disposal companies to take care of those waste management needs.
Hazardous Waste Disposal in Pharmacies: How to Become (and Stay) Compliant
Reach Out to a Hazardous Waste Disposal Company
Hazardous waste can absolutely never be disposed of in the way typical trash can. That means you can't just throw it in a trash can, and you can't put it down the drain. If the untreated hazardous waste ends up in the environment, soil, or water supply, that's an extremely dangerous health and safety problem. It also means, depending on the severity or egregiousness of the disposal, your pharmacy could be liable to pay fines, or you could even face jail time or the loss of licensing to operate your pharmacy.
Because the stakes are so high and proper hazardous waste removal is a complicated industry, you want to reach out to reputable hazardous waste management companies. If you select the right company, the employees will be knowledgeable about both state and federal laws and can ensure you're fully in compliance.
This realization that you generate waste that requires special processing is the first step, and a proper company can help you acknowledge, identify, and classify what of your waste stream needs special disposal.
Of all the times and places to cut financial corners, this is not it. Of course, you want good value out of the company you select, but you shouldn't ever risk improperly disposing of your waste streams to save a few bucks. As stated, it's dangerous, and it will almost certainly end up costing you more in fines and other penalties.
How Hazardous Waste Removal Companies Can Save You Money
While safely and properly disposing of your waste, these companies can help you avoid fines and save you money.
One, the industry knowledge they bring to the table can save you in unexpected ways. For example, there is a very strict limit on P-listed waste (2.2 pounds onsite at any given time). This category of waste is deemed acutely hazardous waste, and if you have more than that 2.2 pound limit, you are legally required to report yourself as a large quantity generator. When that happens, you are liable to pay a large amount of extra taxes, and the amount of paperwork you must file also goes up exponentially.
Working with a waste management company, however, they can help you properly and legally segregate your waste to avoid this. That is, all your U-listed waste and D-listed waste can go together in one container, and your P-listed waste can go separately in another container. This helps ensure you don't needlessly go over that limit, so you don't have to unnecessarily file as a large quantity generator.
Two, these companies can also help you enforce protocol for different types of waste. For example, they can help you properly handle all your red bag waste disposal, if you generate this type of waste by giving vaccinations, vitamin shots, and so on. Most notably this means never putting any pharmaceutical waste (expired medication, etc.) in the red bag. Those red bags are strictly for regulated medical waste. They can also alert you to protocol such as always putting all used syringes in sharps bins before going into the red bag waste.
Three, the company can walk you through the process of reverse distribution to properly and safely deal with some of your expired medications.
If you don't work with a professional, you might not know these kinds of industry protocol and inadvertently violate the rules or needlessly end up paying too much.
What to Look for in a Hazardous Waste Removal Company
When making your final selection of a waste management company, look for the following:
- A company that provides everything you need during the disposal process—containers for storing (already labeled to facilitate segregation of P, U, and D-listed waste), all relevant paperwork for your records, and so on.
- Professional appearance and behavior of drivers and employees, especially when you operate in a commercial space.
- Full-service company, so you save time and money by only having to deal with one business for all your waste needs.
For more information about how to form an effective hazardous waste management plan or what role hazardous waste management companies can play in that, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta waste management company.