SWANA Approves Policy for Safe Disposal of Household Pharmaceuticals

Date: July 27, 2011

Source: Solid Waste Association of North America

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has approved a policy for guiding the responsible disposal of unused or expired household pharmaceuticals. According to the policy, companies selling or dispensing pharmaceuticals should be encouraged to participate in the development and implementation of safe and secure take-back programs, especially since these programs are not yet widely available. SWANA encourages solid waste agencies to instruct consumers to follow federal guidelines for ensuring that unwanted pharmaceuticals will not be used by those for whom the materials were not prescribed. Where the take-back program is available, it should be promoted as an alternative to the flushing recommendation on certain existing drug labels. Moreover, consumers in communities served by a waste-to-energy or Subtitle D municipal waste landfills can confidently dispose of their unused medications in household trash because the waste will be safely and effectively disposed, according to the policy, developed by Marc Rogoff, project director for SCS Engineers. "Safe disposal of unused or expired pharmaceuticals is an important facet of a community's integrated solid waste management plan," Rogoff said in a statement.


PRESS RELEASE
July 27, 2011

SWANA Approves Policy for Safe Disposal of Unused or Expired Household Pharmaceuticals

Silver Spring, MD On July 27, 2011, the International Board of Directors of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) approved a policy for responsible disposal of unused or expired household pharmaceuticals.

The Policy acknowledges that take-back programs are not currently common throughout the U.S., and companies selling or dispensing pharmaceuticals in the U.S. should be encouraged to participate in the development and implementation of safe and secure take-back programs.

Where take-back programs are not available, SWANA encourages solid waste agencies to instruct consumers to follow federal guidelines for ensuring that unwanted pharmaceuticals will not be used by others for whom the materials have not been prescribed.

Once safe, secure and federally-compliant take-back programs are available, the Food and Drug Administration should encourage their use as an alternative to the flushing recommendation on certain existing drug labels.

Further, consumers in communities served by a waste-to-energy or Subtitle D municipal solid waste landfills can confidently dispose of their unused medications in household trash because waste will be safely and effectively disposed.

The policy was originated and drafted by Dr. Marc Rogoff, Project Director, SCS Engineers and member of SWANA's International Board of Directors.

Upon approval of the policy, Rogoff commented, "Safe disposal of unused or expired pharmaceuticals is an important facet of a community's integrated solid waste management plan. I am pleased that SWANA has taken a leadership position in approved this policy statement."

The full policy entitled SWANA TECHNICAL POLICY T-10 SAFE DISPOSAL OF UNUSED OR EXPIRED HOUSEHOLD PHARMACEUTICALS can be found HERE.

For more information and to view the release online, please visit www.swana.org.

About SWANA:

For nearly 50 years, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has been the leading professional association in the solid waste management field. SWANA's mission is "to advance the practice of environmentally and economically sound management of municipal solid waste." SWANA serves nearly 8,000 members and thousands more industry professionals with technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses. For more information, visit www.SWANA.org.

For more information, contact:
Kellie Bove
Manager of Marketing & Communications
(202) 494-2256
kbove@swana.org.

Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin