California Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

A Total Prescription for Waste Compliance

Did you know that the EPA can fine you up to $37,500 per violation per day for disposing of your pharmaceutical waste incorrectly?

Do you know about the implications of the California Medical Waste Management Act and the Cal EPA hazardous waste regulations?

Hospitals and healthcare facilities face a wide range of federal, state, and local regulations when it comes to disposing of pharmaceutical waste. You need a partner you can trust.

Ensure that you are compliant with all EPA, DOT, federal, state, and local regulations with Waste Management’s Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Service. With WM, you’ll get:

  • 24-hour access to pharmaceutical waste categorization information through Waste Wizard, our online solution system
  • Help identifying secure areas for pharmaceutical waste containers
  • Waste collected in designated containers, labeled and rated for pharmaceuticals
  • Properly transported hazardous and non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste to either
  • A RCRA hazardous waste facility, or
  • A permitted regulated medical waste facility, as required by federal and state regulations.

We’ll help you identify and classify your pharmaceutical waste, set up a tailored disposal program designed for your facility, and train your staff on safety and waste regulations.

Pharmaceutical Waste


California does allow non-RCRA California hazardous pharmaceutical waste to be mixed with regulated medical waste IF the entire mixture will be incinerated at a regulated medical waste incinerator. Find out if this is an economically viable solution for your facility by contacting us today at 888-906-8176 or email us at

RCRA Hazardous Waste & Non-RCRA California Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste Management

Pharmaceutical waste that meets the definition of hazardous waste under RCRA must be discarded in a hazardous waste container, including:

  • P-listed waste (nicotine, warfarin [Coumadin], arsenic trioxide, physostigmine salicylate) and their packaging
  • U-listed waste (six chemotherapy drugs [cyclophosphamide, mitomycin, etc.], and a variety of other drugs)

Additionally, certain drug formulations exhibit characteristics of hazardous waste, including ignitability or toxicity in some pressurized aerosols, m-cresol in human insulin, thimerosal in multi-dose flu vaccine, and more. And we recommend all unused chemotherapy be managed as hazardous waste.

Need more information? Waste Management can help. Visit our PharmE® Waste Wizard® and Inventory Analysis for more details. We can also assist your facility in transporting these wastes to a permitted RCRA hazardous waste incinerator for destruction. Contact us at 888-906-8176 or email us at to get started.

All other pharmaceutical waste generated in California must be managed EITHER as RCRA hazardous waste OR as non-RCRA California hazardous waste. Non-RCRA California hazardous waste must be incinerated at a regulated medical waste incinerator and must be labeled as bio-hazardous.

DEA-Controlled Substances Disposal

Since September 9, 2014, all expired controlled substances in a pharmacy’s inventory must be sent through reverse distribution for witnessed destruction, as part of the Disposal of Controlled Substances final rule. Any waste controlled substances generated within the pharmacy during compounding, or outdated, undispensed IVs must be reverse distributed.

Any unused controlled substances charged out to a patient — including partial IVs, syringes, or vials — must be managed in a way to prevent diversion, according to DEA guidance, like with the Rx Destroyer™.

The cartridges or contents of these devices can then be placed in the hazardous pharmaceutical waste container (if a hazardous controlled substance has been added) or a non-RCRA California pharmaceutical waste container. Waste Management will take care of the transport and proper destruction of these containers for you.

RCRA and Non-RCRA Pharmaceutical Containers

To learn more about our Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Services, request a quote, or schedule a tour, contact us, call 888-906-8176, or email us at

Integrated. Sustainable. Industry Experts.


To find out how we can help you safely dispose of your medical and hazardous waste, further your goals of sustainability, streamline operations to minimize waste and reduce costs, contact us today.

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CALL 888 906 8176 OR

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Call 800.774.0222 or visit