Healthcare waste management is a vital exercise all healthcare facilities go through every day. Pharmacies, being an extended arm of our healthcare ecosystem, also have to perform the same task. Some pharmacy owners prefer a DIY approach to pharmaceutical waste management. However, it’s not easy to get rid of pharmacy waste as the process is bound by laws and regulations.

In the UK, the guidelines for pharmaceutical waste management are stated by various different laws and regulations. Pharmacies must abide by the rules put in place by the committee. In today’s blog, we’ll be guiding you through all the compliances and responsibilities of pharmacies in managing their clinical wastes.

Know the Waste

The first step of clinical waste handling is knowing the classification of the waste. Medical wastes come in all shapes and sizes. The threat level also varies from item to item. While some waste is highly hazardous to us and our nature, others are like regular household wastes with no potential threats.

Following are some of the different types of waste a pharmacy might produce.

  • Cytotoxic and cytostatic waste
  • Biohazardous waste
  • Clinical waste
  • Offensive waste
  • Chemical waste
  • Sharps waste
  • Other non-medicinal waste

Usually, in pharmacies, wastes are divided into two segments i.e., hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste. Anything that’s cytotoxic, carcinogenic or mutagenic in nature is classified as hazardous waste. This type of waste requires special attention while handling and storing. On the other hand, non-hazardous waste like clinical waste and denatured drugs have much less strict storage norms.

Know the Responsibility

Any facility that produces medical waste in the UK is fully responsible for the storage, carriage and disposal of the waste. According to the NHS Constitution, waste disposal responsibilities fall under the legal duty of care. So every healthcare facility in the UK must abide by these rules and put up an effective waste disposal mechanism to ensure safety and security for everyone involved.

There are a few steps for proper disposal of healthcare waste. If you’re a pharmacist or a pharmacy owner based in the UK, the following is what you should do with the waste generated in your establishment.

1. Segregation

Waste segregation is the first step of medical waste processing. Different wastes have different disposal methods. For that, wastes need to be segregated in separate bins so that no non-identical waste gets mixed up.

2. Storage

After segregation, you need to store the waste in a secure place. This part is particularly tricky because there’s always a chance of cross-contamination due to inappropriate storage of pharmaceutical waste. Trikon offers specially designed waste bins and bags that can safely store your waste without leakage or spills.

3. Labeling

All the stored waste must be labeled according to its nature. As disposal techniques vary for different types of waste, labeling is essential to identify the waste type before sending it to disposal. For example, the standard practice of cytotoxic waste storage is to keep in purple-lidded bins.

4. Transfer

Healthcare waste can not be left unattended in a bin for longer periods. You need to send the waste to a waste treatment facility at regular intervals. For this purpose, you have to hire a clinical waste management team who will take care of the transfer and incineration process for you.

5. Incineration

According to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, medical waste can’t be disposed of in landfills. It requires incineration with heat treatment for complete disposal. Professional waste management agencies can perform this final step of pharmaceutical waste disposal in a compliant manner.

These are the five steps of proper waste disposal for pharmacies based in the UK. Alongside hiring a waste management team for the transfer and incineration of waste, you should train your employees to perform the first three steps of segregation, storage and labeling of the waste. Thus, it will make the job of waste collectors easy while eliminating the chances of cross-contamination.

Know the Regulations

The UK Government has established several regulations and laws over the years to make healthcare service providers aware of proper waste disposal techniques without hurting the citizens and the environment. Following are brief details of these regulations that every pharmacy owner should know.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990

The Environmental Protection Act sets out the rules for managing waste so that land, air, and water pollution can be controlled. This act imposes a ‘Duty of Care’ on every business that produces clinical waste. It also instructs businesses about the safety norms of waste disposal mechanisms.

The Controlled Waste Regulations 2012

This regulation defines the definition of controlled waste. Any commercial or household waste that is classified as controlled waste is subject to stricter disposal norms set out by the Environment Protection Act. Most of the medical waste is termed controlled waste by the Controlled Waste Regulations 2012.

The Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005

The Hazardous Waste Regulations sets out the course of action for hazardous waste disposal. Pharmacies may produce cytotoxic syringes which need to be disposed of in accordance with the norms laid out by this regulation that came into existence in 2005.

Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations

Another legislation that dictates medical waste disposal is the Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations. This regulation looks after the transportation of hazardous waste and advises how to handle accidental spillage during the carriage of dangerous goods.

At Trikon Clinical Waste Solutions, we process healthcare waste in compliance with all these regulations. With us, you don’t need to go through these legislations as we take care of all the legalities for you.

Know the Best Waste Management Solution

Trikon Clinical Waste Solutions brings an efficient yet cost-effective waste management service to your doorsteps. We cover 90+ UK postcodes with 80+ partnering depos for 24×7 waste collection. Our mission is to reduce carbon emissions throughout the UK’s healthcare sector. We offer our clinical waste pickup services to every type of medical establishment, including pharmacies.

With Trikon, you get:

  • 24×7 Doorstep waste pickup
  • Safe waste carriage
  • Complaint waste disposal
  • Guidance on waste storage practices
  • Uninterrupted waste collection
  • Proper site mapping before the beginning of services

Apart from healthcare waste management for pharmacies, we offer several services that cater to all sorts of waste disposal needs that might arise in any medical institution. We also offer a range of UN-approved products that fulfill all types of waste storage needs.


In order to protect British citizens from exposure to the potentially dangerous waste, pharmacies must always exercise the model standard of practices set out by the law. Trikon Clinical Waste Solutions can assist you in understanding the legalities of pharmaceutical waste management and can do the waste recycling task for you. Get in touch with us today to know more details about our services.

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