New Disposal Option for Pharmaceutical Waste

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that they are in the process of developing a proposal to establish standards for the management and disposal of hazardous pharmaceutical waste. We can hopefully expect this proposal in 2015.  In the meantime, generators of hazardous pharmaceutical waste must follow the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) standards.  A new process has been developed that utilizes oxidizing agents in a high alkaline environment to treat all forms of pharmaceutical waste.

Traditionally, collected pharmaceutical waste has been for the most part treated through incineration. Additionally, many healthcare facilities do not collect or dispose of the waste properly and it ends up in sewers or landfills.  Increased incineration standards have raised the cost of the process in some areas, due to the need to control air pollution.

The new technology is a non-thermal, commercially scalable process developed as an alternative to incineration. The new MIMO System was developed by the Athisa R&D Department in Granada, Spain in conjunction with the EUREKA Innovation Program.

According to Waste Management World, “the technology is comprised of a feeding system, feeding waste to a shredding process which in turn feeds the treatment or reactor unit. Finally, the residue is stabilized before its transfer to landfill. Stabilization converts any remaining molecules into their least soluble form thereby preventing leachates, liquids containing elevated concentrations of undesirable material, from draining into landfill”.

The MIMO technology can treat infectious, cytostatic, and non-cytostatic/pharmaceutical waste. It has been shown to reduce the active pharmaceutical ingredients by 99-100%. At this point, it appears to more efficient and less polluting than incineration.  Once the new EPA standards are enacted, this technology may be useful in meeting the regulations.

If your facility needs assistance in managing and disposing pharmaceutical waste in accordance with EPA standards, please contact us here.

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