Non-Hazardous, Non-DEA Pharmaceutical Waste

Non-hazardous, non-Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) pharmaceutical waste, while “non-hazardous,” can still pose a threat to our waterways and landfills. This is why this class of drugs must be disposed of properly.  The only reason this type of pharmaceutical waste is categorized as non-hazardous is because it doesn’t appear on the Environmental Protection Agency’s RCRA hazardous chemical list.

The vast majority of the pharmaceuticals on the market make up this kind of pharmaceutical waste, including:

  • OTC medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, and combination cold medications
  • Contraceptives
  • All classes of antibiotics
  • Hormones
  • Non-RCRA prescription medications

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ruling “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals” was designed to to protect our water supply and offers a set of standards to streamline the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, and to make sure the protocols are safe for the healthcare industry and the environment. This rule targets primarily businesses and healthcare facilities, which is why understanding proper disposal is imperative to community and environmental health.

A staggering fact: going back as far as early 2000, a U.S. Geological Survey found perceptible amounts of one or more medications in 80% of water samples drawn from a network of 139 streams in 30 states.

As the pharmaceutical industry changes and grows with more drugs entering the market, so, too, our need to properly dispose of this waste must change. Red Bags can help you and your business dispose of non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste in a safe and compliant manner.

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