Pharmaceutical manufacturers have a unique challenge when it comes to disposing of waste in the making of their products. They must deal with both the individual ingredients and the medications that are developed from the ingredients. To maintain compliance with federal regulatory agencies as well as state and local statutes, All Florida Medical Waste always stays up to date on current laws and statutes.
The Dangers of Improperly Disposing of Pharmaceutical Waste
Much of pharmaceutical waste is considered to be hazardous and harmful to the environment. To dispose of it through wastewater allows it to go to wastewater treatment plants, which aren’t prepared to eliminate these chemicals. When taken to the landfill, the result is often the same with just a delay. The chemicals seep into the groundwater, which can end up in drinking water.
Types of Waste Produced by Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
Pharmaceutical companies produce multiple types of waste. Each type must be handled and disposed of according to specific guidelines and regulations for that category.
- Hazardous waste – expired chemicals or solvent waste
- Regulated medical waste – any materials which have been contaminated by biological waste, such as human blood
- Non-hazardous waste – any other materials which must be disposed of and not put in the trash but doesn’t contain hazardous chemicals or ingredients
One area of a pharmaceutical manufacturer that generates a lot of waste, especially hazardous waste, is the research and development lab. It is common to see expired chemicals or those that have been used in testing. They must be disposed of in a safe and controlled way.
On the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA sets the regulations for what is labeled as hazardous and how they are to be managed. The Department of Transportation issues regulations on how to transport these hazardous waste products from the company to the disposal site. They also determine what paperwork needs to follow the waste through transport.
Challenges for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
Pharmaceutical manufacturers must have an on-site location for waste disposal in appropriate containers that are labeled correctly. The company must stay up to date on any changes in regulations that would alter how they handle and dispose of the waste.
Another challenge for these companies is in training staff on handling. Part of their job is to train employees on what is considered hazardous waste versus medical waste and the differences in handling procedures. It is a common issue for companies to label the waste incorrectly. Staff need to understand protocols for even the simplest items, such as a mercury thermometer.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers can partner with a waste management company to take the waste off-site. However, they will find it beneficial to work with a company that specializes in medical and hazardous waste. The waste management company will stay up to date on the latest regulations and assist the manufacturer in staying in compliance as regulations change. All Florida Medical Waste is a team with years of experience in the medical waste industry and can meet the unique needs of each customer.