REGULATED MEDICAL WASTE FAQS

The disposal of medical waste is regulated at the state* and sometimes local level. Our state map links to the various regulations. State and local regulations typically pertain to the labeling, containment, storage, transportation, and treatment of medical waste. Some states require the generator to register with the state and maintain medical waste management plans.

The transportation of medical waste is also regulated by USPS for mailbacks and DOT for pickup services. The EPA as well as state agencies regulates the treatment and environmental safety at treatment facilities. OSHA and CDC are responsible for identification and employee safe handling of medical waste as well as labeling and containment. OSHA requires bloodborne pathogens exposure control plans and training, which is typically where medical waste management is addressed.

*It is important to check with your state, as some require generators to register and have other state-specific requirements.

No. You will manage your sharps and red bag medical waste following the same facility protocols currently in place. With mailback, there is very little difference than what you do today: 1) collect waste, 2) package transport box, 3) complete and sign the manifest tracking form, and 4) send for proper treatment. The only difference is the transporter. Also, you can manage your waste on your own time with a mailback as it is simply placed in the mail when ready instead of waiting for a driver to come pick it up.

Simply contact our customer support team for a username and password. You can access SharpsTracer at www.sharpstracer.com.

We carry the largest selection of USPS-authorized mailback systems available. Simply locate the size sharps containers you are currently using at your facility. Next, match them to a similar size of our systems in our online store. We have systems that include a single sharps container and mailback box; systems that include multiple sharps containers in one mailback box; and medical professional systems, which include a large container and mailback box used to hold your own sharps containers and red bag waste. Shipping and disposal/treatment for all systems is prepaid and includes the tracking documentation required by many states. If you have questions regarding the right system for your facility, contact us at 800.772.5657 and let our Medical Waste Management Experts help select the appropriate system for your needs.

PHARMACEUTICAL WASTE FAQS

RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) pharmaceuticals become hazardous waste when deemed nonviable (returned, expired, damaged.) They are considered "listed" wastes. The volume and type of listing can impact storage limits, generator status, and requirements for disposal packaging. A proper program for RCRA pharmaceuticals includes written waste determination, storage, transportation, and treatment. Contact Sharps Compliance to set up a compliant program today for managing RCRA waste in your healthcare facility or retail pharmacy.

Do's
  • Place all unused medications into this envelope including legally held controlled drugs and narcotics (Schedules II, III, IV, and V.)
  • Medications should be in their original containers when placed into the TakeAway envelope.
  • Liquids must be placed in a sealed plastic bag (e.g., a zip-locked bag) before being placed inside the envelope. No more than four ounces of liquids can be included in each mailing.
  • Seal the envelope carefully.
  • Take the sealed envelope to a U.S. Post Office or U.S. Postal Service dropbox, or simply hand it to your U.S. postal carrier.
Don'ts
  • DO NOT mail needles, syringes. lancets, injection pens, medical waste, liquid chemo/cytotoxic drugs or contaminated materials such as gloves, tubing, or IV bags in this envelope. Contact Sharps Compliance at 800.772.5657 for the proper disposal method for these items.
  • DO NOT mail trash, aerosol spray cans, batteries, any substance or material that could adversely affect the safety of carriers during transportation, such as flammable, infectious, radioactive, or combustible materials.
  • DO NOT mail illicit drugs (Schedule I controlled substances), such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine.
  • DO NOT OVERFILL THE ENVELOPE.
  • DO NOT take this filled envelope back to your pharmacy.

Notice 1 - Packages may only be mailed from within the 50 US states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Notice 2 - Only TakeAway Medication Recovery System envelopes provided by Sharps Compliance Inc. will be accepted for destruction.

A DEA registered collector is a DEA registrant that updates their registration to collector status. Retail pharmacies and hospitals or clinics with on-site pharmacies can update their registration to become collectors and place collection receptacles onsite. Additionally, retail pharmacies, closed-door pharmacies, and hospitals or clinics with on-site pharmacies can manage collection receptacle programs for long-term care facilities with an updated collector status.

MedSafe is a monthly leased service program that provides the collection receptacle, and inner liners for one monthly fixed cost. The monthly cost is based on the collection receptacle size (18-gallon or 38-gallon) and the number of inner liners required in one calendar year. The monthly cost includes the initial shipment of the MedSafe receptacle, including one inner liner to the location where it will be installed, shipments of new inner liners based on the service schedule, and transportation and destruction of full inner liners. You can also purchase the MedSafe receptacle. Please call 800.772.5657 for more details.

YES. Under the Disposal Act, non-controlled, over-the-counter, and controlled medications can be commingled in the collection receptacle. Schedule I drugs and hazardous medications are not allowed in the collection receptacle. Contact Sharps at 800.772.5657 for the proper option for disposal of your hazardous medications.

  • A securely locked, substantially constructed container with a permanent outer shell and a removable inner liner as specified in § 1317.60 of this chapter;
  • The outer container shall include a small opening that allows contents to be added to the inner liner but does not allow removal of the inner liner's contents;
  • The outer container shall prominently display a sign indicating that only non-controlled drugs and Schedules II, III, IV, or V controlled substances are acceptable (Schedule I controlled substances, controlled substances that are not lawfully possessed by the ultimate user, and other illicit or dangerous substances are not permitted); and
  • Access to the inner liner shall be restricted to authorized employees of the authorized collector.

Sharps Compliance's MedSafe inner liner is designed to collect, protect, and safely transport the pharmaceuticals to our treatment facility. The inner liner meets the following DEA requirements (21 CFR § 1317.60):

  • The inner liner shall be waterproof, tamper-evident, and tear-resistant;
  • The inner liner shall be removable and sealable immediately upon removal without emptying or touching the contents;
  • The contents of the inner liner shall not be viewable from the outside when sealed;
  • The size of the inner liner shall be clearly marked on the outside of the liner (e.g., 5 gallons, 10 gallons, etc.); and
  • The inner liner shall bear a permanent, unique identification number that enables the liner to be tracked.

Additionally, The Company has received a Special Permit (DOT-SP 20284) from the United States Department of Transportation authorizing the use of Sharps Compliance, Inc.'s MedSafe inner liner packaging for the transportation of hazardous material pharmaceuticals. Click for the Special Permit.

Sharps compliance maintains records that comply with DEA Recordkeeping Requirements (21 CFR §):

  • Date Received
  • Date of destruction;
  • Method of destruction;
  • Name and address of the place of destruction;
  • Unique identification number of the inner liner destroyed;
  • Size of the inner liner destroyed (e.g., 5 gallons, 10 gallons, etc.); and
  • Name and signature of the two authorized employees who witnessed the destruction.

Sharps Compliance securely stores the inner liners collected from ultimate users in a manner consistent with the security requirements for Schedule II controlled substances. All inner liner containers are stored inside a DEA-approved vault until prompt on-site destruction can occur. The following describes the safety and security features:

  • The walls, floors, and ceilings of which vault are constructed of at least 8 inches of reinforced concrete or other substantial masonry, reinforced vertically and horizontally with 1/2-inch steel rods tied 6 inches on center, or the structural equivalent to such reinforced walls, floors, and ceilings;
  • The door and frame unit of which vault conform to 30 man-minutes against surreptitious entry, 10 man-minutes against forced entry, 20 man-hours against lock manipulation, and 20 man-hours against radiological techniques;
  • The vault is equipped with a "day-gate" which is self-closing and self-locking for use during the hours of operation in which the vault door is open;
  • The walls are equipped with an alarm, which upon unauthorized entry transmit a signal directly to a central station protection company and State police agency which has a legal duty to respond, or a 24-hour control station operated by the registrant, or such other protection as the Administrator may approve, and, if necessary, holdup buttons at strategic points of entry to the perimeter area of the vault;
  • The door of which vault is equipped with contact switches; and
  • Vault has complete electrical lacing of the walls, floor, and ceilings; sensitive ultrasonic equipment within the vault; a sensitive sound accumulator system to detect illegal entry as may be approved by the Administration.

Sharps Compliance fully complies with DOT regulations for the transport of such drugs collected for disposal as authorized by the DOT under Special Permit #DOT-SP 20284. Click for the Special Permit under which the Company operates.

HAZARDOUS WASTE FAQS

Products and materials are considered hazardous wastes when discarded or as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines it, "no longer of value." This could occur when the material has expired as is the case with drugs or when it is no longer needed, as with mercury-containing thermostats. The EPA developed four types of specific wastes (Listed Wastes) and four types of wastes with defining characteristics (Characteristic Wastes) to help determine specific hazards.

K-Listed wastes are source-specific and generally not found in healthcare facilities.

F-Listed wastes are non-specific source wastes and may be present in healthcare facility morgues or maintenance shops.

P-Listed wastes are acutely toxic and include multiple pharmaceuticals and other materials found in healthcare facilities.

  • Examples of P-Listed wastes
  • Warfarin & salts (concentration > 0.3%)
  • Epinephrine
  • Nicotine & salts
  • Physostigmine

U-Listed wastes are toxic and include many pharmaceuticals and other materials, such as commercial chemical products used in healthcare facilities.

  • Examples of U-Listed wastes in the healthcare setting are (but not limited to)
  • Reserpine
  • Warfarin (concentration ≤ 0.3%)
  • Acetyl Chloride
  • Ethyl Ether

Characteristic Wastes are wastes that do not fall under any of the listed wastes but that exhibit the characteristics of:

  • Ignitability - wastes that can readily catch fire and maintain combustion
  • Corrosivity - wastes that are acidic or alkaline (basic)
  • Reactivity - wastes that readily explode or undergo violent reactions or react by releasing toxic gases or fumes
  • Toxicity - wastes likely to leach dangerous concentrations of toxic chemicals into groundwater
INCINERATION & TREATMENT FAQS
  • Regulated Medical Waste, including Pathological & Trace Chemo
  • Seized Property, Evidence, Firearms, & Narcotics
  • DEA Controlled Substances, Non-controlled, & Over-the-Counter Medications
  • Expired, Damaged, Returned, or Counterfeited Items
  • Confidential Materials
  • Hazardous Materials & Electronics
  • TCEQ MSW Permit 1741a
  • TCEQ MSW Registration 40267
  • TCEQ NSR Air Permit 77002 (allowed to process 40 tons per day)
  • TCEQ Federal Operating Permit O3360
  • DEA Reverse Distributor Registration Number RS0365800 (Schedules 1, 2, 2N, 3, 3N, 4, 5)
  • Texas DPS Controlled Substances Registration Number D0158100 (Schedules 1, 2, 2N, 3, 3N, 4, 5)

Fully-permitted by the State of Texas and approved by the Texas Commission
on Environmental Quality under Permit No. 1741-A

COMPLIANCE & TRAINING FAQS

The SDS/MSDS database contains over one million safety data sheets. Data sheets can be store in location documents online, printed for hard-copy location use, or downloaded to a local computer for retention. There is no additional fee to access the SDS/MSDS database.

All of them. Each licensing fee includes 10 training credits. Additional credits can be purchased separately per location for a small flat fee. The included training credits can cover ten employees on one subject matter, e.g., bloodborne pathogens or can be mixed as needed per location.

Any Sharps customer can enroll in our online OSHA compliance and training system, ComplianceTrac. There is a licensing fee per location.

Yes. An administrator location can manage all sub-locations. An administrator location can assign trainings to sub-locations as well as store SDS/MSDSs as sub-location documents, update individual location safety plans, review audits, and much more.