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Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

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Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Service In San Diego

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About Our Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Service

San Diego Medical Waste Services is your go-to resource for safe and reliable Pharmaceutical Waste disposal. With our wide selection of services, you can be sure that your sharps disposal needs are taken care of. We have the experience and expertise to get the job done right, providing you with a safe disposal solution. Contact us today and let us help you take care of your sharps disposal needs.

Environmentally Safe Pharmaceutical Disposal Services

At San Diego Medical Waste Services, we are dedicated to keeping your business compliant and safe. We understand the importance of proper pharmaceutical waste disposal, which is why we provide the best medical waste management services in the area. 

Price Lock Guarantee

We understand the importance of predictability when it comes to your finances. That is why we offer a price lock guarantee for our services. No increases for the duration of your service agreement.

No Additional Fees

We understand the importance of transparency and strive to provide our customers with a clear and hassle-free experience. No fuel fees, No energy fees, No additional fees.

Low Disposal Cost

By streamlining our processes, leveraging advanced routing and disposal technologies, we have successfully reduced the costs associated with disposal. You can confidently choose our services.

Locally Owned

When you choose to support our locally owned business, you can trust that you are making a positive impact on your community, as your patronage directly supports local jobs, services, and initiatives.

Veteran Owned

We are honored to be a veteran-owned business, founded and operated by individuals who have proudly served in the military. Our commitment to excellence, integrity, and service is deeply rooted in our military experience.

Total Compliance

By emphasizing total compliance, we aim to build trust with our stakeholders, protect our reputation, and contribute to a fair and sustainable business environment.

Why San Diego Medical Waste Is The Clear Choice?

What Is Pharmaceutical Waste?

Hospitals, medical clinics, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and other health care facilities generate several types of wastes. These include hazardous waste identified under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), non-RCRA hazardous waste, and medical waste. When SB 1966 became effective in 1997, pharmaceutical wastes classified as non-RCRA (California only) hazardous waste were included under the definition of Medical Waste. These wastes must be handled and disposed of as medical waste according to the requirements of the California Medical Waste Management Act (MWMA), Sections 117690 (3), 117747, and 118222 (b), California Health and Safety Code.

If a pharmaceutical waste is a medical waste, it must be managed according to MWMA requirements. These requirements include the waste being labeled with the words "Incineration Only" and disposed of within one year on a waste tracking document.

The MWMA section 117690 (a), (b)(3) defines pharmaceutical waste as a type of medical waste. It further indicates that it is a pharmaceutical, including chemotherapy waste that is a waste (as defined in HSC 25124). A pharmaceutical waste does not include pharmaceuticals being sent out to a reverse distributor.

What Is Pharmaceutical Waste?

What Is A Pharmaceutical Waste Container?

San Diego Medical Waste's, Pharmaceutical Waste Container (typically white and blue in color) offers a reliable and safe solution for disposing of your Non-rcra pharmaceutical waste.  Made from a durable, puncture-resistant plastic, this UN3291 container is designed to contain and store a wide variety of pharmaceutical waste products including those that still have the needle attached. It is easy to use and comes with an airtight lid to ensure the safe disposal of hazardous materials. The Pharmaceutical Waste Container is perfect for medical clinics, pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities. It is available in a variety of sizes to suit your specific needs.

Pro Tip: Pharmaceutical waste container are "single use" containers and are incinerated with its contents as a proper method of disposal.

Typical pharmaceutical waste containers are color coded white and blue and come in the following sizes:

  • 5 Quart

  • 2 Gallon

  • 8 Gallon

  • 12 Gallon

  • 18 Gallon

*** Pharmaceutical Waste containers are single use and are expendable to the generator.  Pharmaceutical Waste containers may be purchased from San Diego Medical Waste Services separately from your disposal service by visiting

What Are Some Examples Of Non-Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste?

“Pharmaceutical” means a prescription or over-the-counter human or veterinary drug, including, but not limited to, a drug as defined in Section 109925 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as amended, (21 U.S.C.A. Sec. 321(g)(1)).  Pharmaceutical Waste: Any prescription or over-the-counter human or veterinary drug, including, but not limited to: 

  • Syringes w/residual pharmaceuticals

  • Pill Bottles

  • Pills

  • Dental Ampule

  • Medication Vials

  • Unused Medications

  • Expired Medications

  • Dietary Supplements and Vitamins

  • Anything with an NDC#​

  • Acetaminophen (paracetamol): A common over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer.

  • Ibuprofen: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used for pain relief and reducing inflammation.

  • Aspirin: A medication used for pain relief, reducing inflammation, and preventing heart attacks.

What Are Some Examples Of Non-Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste?

What Should NOT Go Into A Non-RCRA Pharmaceutical Waste Container?

Pharmaceutical waste containers are reserved for those items that are contain any prescription or over-the-counter human or veterinary drug. Proper drug handling and training can help ensure staff are fully aware of what can and cannot be disposed of in a sharps container.

Things that should not be thrown in a pharmaceutical waste container include:

  • RCRA Hazardous Pharmaceutical waste is waste that exhibits a characteristic such as (ignitability, corrosivity, ractivity, or toxicity).

  • Untreated controlled substances

  • Tape, paper, bandages/gauze, exam gloves, alcohol preps (These items go into a biohazard waste container)

  • Aerosols or inhalers (These items are typically hazardous or "RCRA" Waste and go into a hazardous waste container

  • Garbage or liquids of any kind

  • Batteries of any type

  • Hazardous, chemical, radioactive or red bag waste (non-sharps regulated medical waste)

What Should NOT Go Into A Non-RCRA Pharmaceutical Waste Container?
  • YES! Sharps containers are single use and are expendable to the generator.  Sharps containers may be purchased from San Diego Medical Waste Services separately from your disposal service by visiting

  • The medical waste container labeling, San Diego County Ordinance SEC. 68.1205, was enacted in 1989 as a response to medical wastes that were washed ashore on area beaches and were found dumped in County landfills.  Proper labeling must include: generator’s name, address and phone number as well as the date of first use.

  • Pharmaceutical waste generated in California must be treated by incineration, or by an alternative treatment technology that has received approval from the Department. The technologies on the Department’s alternative medical waste treatment technologies list are the only alternative treatments approved for use in California. None of the charcoal-based products currently in use have gained this approval, so they must be disposed of in a pharmaceutical waste container. Do not place pharmaceuticals mixed with these products into the solid waste.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Answers You Need

Knowledge Center

Step 1

  • Non-RCRA Pharmaceutical waste containers are colored (WHITE/BLUE).

  • Prior to use, label each pharmaceutical waste container with your facility's name, address, and phone number.

  • Labeled with “HIGH HEAT” or “INCINERATION ONLY” on lid and sides [MWMA 118275(6)] 

(San Diego County Ordinance SEC. 68.1205)

Container & Labeling

Step 2

  • Place new pharmaceutical waste containers (WHITE/BLUE) in an area that is either locked or under direct supervision.

  • Immediately after use, place qualified pharmaceuticals into the pharmaceutical waste container until the contents of the container reach the "FULL" line.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 117750)

Interim Storage Area

Step 3

  • Once full or ready to dispose, tightly close the lid. Use locking tabs and tape when available.

  • On or before your scheduled service, remove pharmaceutical waste containers from interim storage area from step 2 and place the entire container next to (NOT INSIDE OF) the regulated medical waste (RMW) container to be picked up during your scheduled service day.

PRO TIP: Pharmaceutical waste containers also act as a sharps container for syringes with pharmaceutical liquid remaining inside of them after use.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 118310)

Designated Accumulation Area

Step 4

  • On your scheduled service day, we will perform a one for one exchange of your (WHITE/BLUE) pharmaceutical waste container if it is next to your medical waste container indicating that it is full and ready for disposal. 

  • Any pharma waste that does not make it into the container prior to our arrival may be picked up on your next scheduled service day.

(California Health And Safety Code SEC 117660)

Scheduled Medical Waste Service

Non-RCRA Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Services Process

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