Chemotherapy Waste Disposal

Chemotherapy generates some of the most hazardous waste in the medical industry, so when it comes to medical waste disposal, healthcare providers that manage chemotherapy will find that it is a critical aspect of their healthcare waste management plan. We help you dispose of your chemotherapy waste cost effectively, efficiently and compliantly.

Most chemotherapy drugs are cytotoxic, meaning they kill living cells. Often this type of waste will not be categorized as infectious, however, it is highly toxic and corrosive. When it is disposed of improperly, these wastes may result in long-term damage to our natural resources.

Your Local Chemotherapy Waste Disposal Company

Medical Waste of America provides chemotherapy waste disposal services for customers just like you throughout central and eastern Tennessee, Southeastern Kentucky, Southwest Virginia, North Carolina, and Northern Georgia from our headquarters in Knoxville, TN.

Medical Waste of America (MWA) provides solutions that minimize cross-contamination and offers cost-effective disposal of trace chemotherapy waste and sharps contaminated with trace amounts of chemotherapy residue.

Hospitals, pharmacies, and oncologists, or any type of medical practice that handles chemotherapy drugs and/or waste, please contact us today for a quote.

Complete the form on this page or call us to discuss your unique needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

How is chemotherapy waste segregated and disposed of properly?

Chemotherapy waste should be segregated for proper disposal. It is important to understand which pharmaceuticals utilized are considered hazardous as stated in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA identifies the pharmaceuticals (and other chemicals) which are considered hazardous waste. Under RCRA guidelines these products must be segregated, managed, and transported as hazardous waste.

Once the category of waste is designated, the next step is to determine if the waste is considered “trace” or “bulk.” The words “trace” and “bulk” are common terms used to describe chemotherapy waste. These terms are widely used in the industry even though they are not official EPA designations. Trace chemotherapy can usually be found on items used to prepare and administer chemo, including empty bags, tubing gloves, pads, and gowns. If there is any residue of the chemotherapy product on any item, that too would be considered Trace. These items can be transported and disposed of through the Medical Waste of America (MWA).

Bulk Waste would include full, partially full, or expired bags of chemotherapy. Bulk waste should be placed in black containers clearly labeled as Hazardous Waste.

If chemotherapy includes a P or U listed drug, it will be classified as Hazardous Waste and should be placed in a black bin container for disposal through a hazardous waste company. This includes trace P or U listed products as well as the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), or any other material contaminated with the hazardous product or used in its administration

As mentioned previously, individual state requirements may be more stringent than federal regulations; so other labeling may be required by an individual state’s regulations. Proper knowledge, segregation, and packaging is key to compliance when handling chemotherapy waste streams. For a more comprehensive explanation of RCRA and pharmaceutical and hazardous waste, please check out our individual page that discusses in more detail Pharmaceutical Waste.

What is the proper treatment for Chemotherapy Waste?

MWA has the healthcare waste solutions, licensing, and compliance expertise to properly manage the regulatory responsibilities for Chemotherapy Waste of every sized healthcare facility. All of our medical waste solutions and products are designed to emphasize safety and compliance, minimize infection transfer risk, and provide efficient segregation and disposal practices. If you generate chemotherapy waste at your facility, please consider the services of Medical Waste of America (MWA). This type of waste must be treated before disposal. Incineration is usually the most appropriate type of treatment but treatment options do vary from state to state.

What is RCRA Empty?

Containers are considered “RCRA Empty” when less than 3% of the original total volume of the product remains in the container. In the past, it was acceptable to triple rinse empty containers and then dispose of them. After 2019, the EPA set new standards and no longer allows the rinsing of containers, or any sewering of pharmaceutical waste. If that product is a P or U listed hazardous pharmaceutical or chemical then this term does not apply and the product is deemed hazardous and dispose of accordingly.

What are some examples of Hazardous Waste Chemotherapy Drugs?

Here is a list of the most common chemotherapy drugs that are considered by the RCRA as hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. Please note they may be designated as P or U listed drugs and should be segregated properly.

Generic Name Brand Name Waste Code
Arsenic Trioxide Trisenox P012, D004
Chlorambucil Leukeran U035
Cyclophosphamide Cytoxan, Neosar U058
Daunomycin Daunorubicin, Cerubidin, DaunoXome, Rubidomycin U059
Diethylstilbestrol DES, Stilphostrol U089
Melphalan Alkeran, L-PAM U150
Mitomycin C Mitomycin, Mutamycin U010
Streptozotocin Streptozocin, Zanosar U206
Uracil Mustard Uramustine U237

(The complete list of P-Listed and U-listed wastes can be found at the EFR website under 40 CFR section 261.33)

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