Where your pharmaceutical waste goes once it leaves your hospital

By Bob Shuman, Corporate Director of Healthcare

Assuming that it doesn’t go down the drain (and that would be disastrous), it has to go somewhere once it is segregated, packaged, labeled, manifested and sent on its way.

Where it’s sent, and how it is transported, however, largely impacts the extent of your cradle to grave liability for the inappropriate disposal of EPA/State regulated hazardous waste.

Neither you, nor your organization may ever be called to task for non-compliance, but, then again, you may. And, who really wants to go to sleep at night with the Sword of Damocles hanging over his or her head? Gravity-based fines or horizontal stripes are generally not welcome outcomes.

To begin with, there are DOT compliant transporters who are licensed and trained to ship hazardous waste, and then there are two guys with a truck and a dolly who claim they can do it “cheaply”. Have you checked your transporter’s DOT record recently?

And then there’s the small matter as to where the stuff ends-up…is it being incinerated by a reputable end-disposer who complies with the very stringent regulations promulgated by the federal, state and local authorities, or, is it being shipped to a land-fill in New Jersey to reside with Jimmy Hoffa?

Or perhaps, it’s being sent for reverse distribution…but what happens to it if you never receive a credit? Where does it go and what happens if ends-up in the wrong place?

You should really know where your pharmaceutical waste goes…not knowing could result in a bad headache and the need for some pharmaceutical “assistance” (oh-oh, isn’t this where we began?).