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.
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 60 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.