Efficient Pharmaceutical Waste Management – Digitization Helps!

Pharmaceutical Waste Management

Did you know two major pharma companies have been awarded the Terra Carta Seal to recognize their commitment to sustainability? Samsung Biologics was one of them. Samsung committed to achieving net zero greenhouse emissions across direct operations and the supply chains by 2050 or earlier. Samsung Biologics also ensured to minimize the use of disposables in the manufacturing process through waste management and recycling.

When mega companies realize the importance of waste management in the pharmaceuticals sector, it plays an essential role in setting examples. 

Therefore, if your organization deals with pharmaceutical waste, you must carefully manage it. You should follow a safe, effective, and compliant disposal practice. A proper waste disposal practice is essential because pharmaceutical waste, if not disposed of properly, can cause environmental pollution and also prove hazardous to human health. 

For example, as you know, you cannot just toss leftover chemical residue in water bodies, landfills, or drainage systems. There are ways defined by government bodies to dispose off pharmaceutical waste. And the best part is that technology also offers a helping hand for pharmaceutical waste disposal. 

Let us discuss pharmaceutical waste management and how technology can help.

Places that Generate Pharmaceutical Waste

Many commercial and industrial places generate pharmaceutical waste. Pharmaceutical waste includes expired or incorrectly formulated medicines, chemical sludges, waste products from pharmaceutical manufacturing, waste medical items, used gloves, and other pharmaceutical-related equipment.

Various places generate such waste. But even if your organization is not on the list, you must still read on to know the correct ways to dispose of pharmaceutical waste.

Pharma Manufacturing Units

There is no question that Pharmaceutical manufacturing plants are a direct source of generating pharma waste. The chemical residue generated from the manufacturing of medicines is the most concentrated pharma waste. Apart from that, it also includes unused products, water wastage from cleaning equipment, and spills.

Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare facilities generate abundant pharma waste daily. The waste includes unused or expired drugs, syringes, empty bottles, and single-use PPEs. This waste is very hazardous to the environment and the people handling them. Therefore, waste disposal should be done with utmost care.

Personal Care Products Manufacturing Units

Manufacturing units that produce creams, cosmetics, perfumes, and other personal care products eliminate pharma waste. The waste created during the manufacturing of such products requires specialized disposal.

Veterinary Clinics

Believe it or not, veterinary clinics also play a prominent role in pharma waste. In fact, animal hospitals emit extensive pharma waste that must be disposed of responsibly.

Nature of Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste

Pharmaceutical waste can be liquid, solid, or a combination. But not all pharmaceutical products are hazardous. For example, some over-the-counter medicines, antibiotics, hormones, etc., are classified as non-hazardous waste. But that does not mean that they can be disposed of irresponsibly. Despite their non-hazardous nature, special requirements are for their waste management too.

Dedicated government bodies have classified specific characteristics to identify hazardous waste. 

Characteristics of Hazardous Waste

  • Ignitable
  • Corrosive
  • Reactive 
  • Toxic

These waste products cause immense harm to humans, animals, and the environment. Consider a scenario wherein some ignitable pharma waste is dumped. Due to climatic conditions and the nature of the trash, the entire landfill can be set on fire, thus causing irreversible damage to the life of humans and animals. Also, if an animal consumes a toxic substance, it dies immediately, and its remains further pollute the soil or the living things that come in contact with it.

Therefore, hazardous wastes require comprehensive waste management. Therefore, implement a digital system that takes care of everything instead of going through various rules and regulations. But first, let us quickly look at why proper pharmaceutical waste management is crucial.

Why Is Proper Disposal Crucial?

Organizations have to be extra vigilant and cautious when it comes to waste disposal. You do not want to end up paying hefty fines. Therefore ensure to adapt to proper disposal methods to comply with safety and compliance laws.

Here are the reasons why proper pharmaceutical waste disposal is essential.

  • Improper waste disposal can cause irreparable environmental hazards.
  • It can pollute water sources that, eventually, negatively affect the living things consuming them.
  • Sometimes the waste from pharmaceutical industries can cause health issues for generations of humans, creating an irreversible chain-like system.

Additionally, due to the harmful nature of pharma waste, it is also necessary to regularly upgrade and replace old disposal methods to ensure safety and adherence to compliance.

How Can We Help?

Waste needs to be segregated on being generated. Even household waste is separated into wet and dry for safe disposal. Industrial waste must be segregated and disposed of according to the rules, regulations, protocols, and compliances dictated by the concerned governing bodies. 

When there is so much to do and manage, it certainly demands centralizing the processes from generation, storage, transport, and final disposal.

Some companies offer software solutions to improve and manage the waste disposal process and So Do We!

Our digital solution is a comprehensive Waste Management Module that can be easily modulated for the pharmaceutical industry.

This module features:-

  • Centralized inventory for all waste types.
  • Visibility of overall waste management processes to the concerned personnel.
  • Report generation as per local guidelines.
  • End-to-end guidelines to dispose of pharma waste.
  • Setting up common disposal requests and notifying the concerned people for permissions.
  • Ability to upload legal receipts, documents, etc, as attachments for seamless process flow of waste disposal executions.
  • Keep a record for internal and external audits.





Taking support of a reliable digital solution ensures you apply sustainable and responsible methods for pharma waste disposal. 

It Is a Step Towards a Healthier Planet

It is essential to have a proper disposal plan for the environment and to be compliant with the law. Safe, compliant, and efficient waste disposal practices help the organization from harming the environment and adversely affecting human health.

After all, we have only one Earth, and if pharma companies crucially think about their waste disposal, it is a stepping stone in moving towards a healthier planet. 

If we quote Annie Leonard’s words, “There is no such thing as away. When we throw something away, it needs to go somewhere.” And all we are saying is that somewhere should be a place where no harm is caused to the environment or its living beings.

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