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Business Waste: Pharmaceuticals
Proper Disposal: Clinics and other small medical facilities that have expired or unwanted pharmaceuticals should contact a reverse distributor. These companies arrange for destruction of unwanted pharmaceuticals, including controlled substances. Some returned pharmaceuticals are eligible for credit from the manufacturer and most reverse distributors can arrange for you to receive this credit. Find a list of reverse distributors below. Some medicines, such as chemotherapy waste, may not be accepted by a reverse distributor and you may need to use a permitted hazardous waste vendor. To find a hazardous waste vendor, go to the Hazardous Waste Disposal link below.

Hospitals and other large generators of pharmaceutical waste should refer to the Department of Ecology’s regulations and best management practices. For more information, go to the Managing Pharmaceutical Waste link below.

Police Department Evidence Room Managers should refer to Ecology's Designation, Management and Disposal of Police Evidence Dangerous Waste. See the link below for this publication.
Recycle: The best strategy is to use up your supply of pharmaceuticals. Don't purchase large amounts of medicines that will expire before you use them up. Don't accept samples unless you can use them.
Potential Hazards: Pharmaceuticals that are flushed down toilets may end up contaminating surface or ground waters, potentially impacting aquatic organisms.

Trash disposal does not guarantee that medicines won’t get into the environment, and pharmaceuticals in the garbage are still available for abuse or may lead to a poisoning.

Most pharmaceuticals designate as Dangerous Waste under the Washington State regulations or as hazardous waste under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Additional regulations from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Washington State Board of Pharmacy and local health districts may also apply.
Safer Alternatives: --
Collection Facilities Info: Small Business Hazardous Waste Disposal – What wastes can I bring?
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Last Modified: 02/24/2014

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