Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
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GLRPPR Sector Resource: Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: A 10-Step Blueprint for Health Care Facilities in the United States

Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: A 10-Step Blueprint for Health Care Facilities in the United States

Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) recommends this 10-step approach to help health care facilities develop and implement a comprehensive pharmaceutical hazardous waste management program - one that combines regulatory compliance and best management practices with waste minimization - to safeguard human health and the environment, while minimizing risk in a cost effective manner. Step1 provides action items that you can begin immediately. Step 2 is an overview of how the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery (RCRA) regulations apply to pharmaceutical waste management. Step 3 begins where the regulations leave off providing guidance on how to manage non-regulated hazardous pharmaceutical waste. Step 4 walks you through the steps necessary to perform a drug inventory review. This step can be very tedious and time consuming. Step 5 alerts you to waste minimization opportunities. It will be helpful to become familiar with the waste minimization opportunities before assessing your current practices based on the guidance provided in Step 6 and to reference them again after you have performed your department reviews. Taking on the Communication/Labeling Challenge, Step 7 is one of the most critical aspects of implementing a pharmaceutical waste management program and possibly the most challenging. How you decide to communicate pharmaceutical disposition information to the people handling the waste will depend and be dependent upon which of the management options presented in Step 8 you select and what you learn in Step 9, Getting Ready for Implementation. When all the preparation from Steps 7-9 comes together you will be ready for Step 10, Launching the Program. Next Steps follows Step 10 and provides recommendations for future efforts to facilitate environmentally sound pharmaceutical waste management in health care facilities. (PDF Format; Length: 93 pages)


Practice Greenhealth

Resource Type:

Date of Publication:
August 2008

Associated Sectors:

GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).


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