Chemotherapy Waste Disposal in California

Eco Medical offers chemotherapy waste disposal services in all of California. Contact us for a free quote.


Types of Chemotherapy Waste

There are two types of chemotherapy waste: bulk chemotherapy waste and trace chemotherapy waste. For proper medical waste management, it is crucial you segregate each into the proper container.

Trace Chemotherapy Waste

Trace chemotherapy waste is any waste with trace amounts of chemotherapeutic agents, typically from items used in the administration of a chemotherapy drug.

As a medical waste generator of hazardous chemotherapy waste, you will be responsible for the waste you generate from cradle to grave in accordance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Step 1 to proper disposal of chemotherapy waste is classifying the waste stream.

Examples of trace chemotherapy waste can include:

Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gowns, and masks

IV bags and tubing

Sharps waste such as syringes

Wipes or pads

Infusion ports


Pharmaceutical Waste

There are 2 types of pharmaceutical waste: hazardous and non-hazardous. Pharmaceutical waste disposal compliance involves disposing of your pharmaceutical waste in accordance with the California Medical Waste Management Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Chemotherapy Waste Containers

Proper medical waste disposal for trace chemotherapy waste in California involves using a yellow container. If sharps waste is used in the administration of chemotherapy drugs, its should be further segregated into sharps containers specifically for trace chemotherapy waste.

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Bulk Chemotherapy Waste

Bulk chemotherapy waste is chemotherapy waste that contains more than just a trace or residual amount of chemotherapeutic agents.

Bulk chemo waste is a hazardous waste and waste disposal involves following strict state and federal regulations. Bulk chemo wastes need to be disposed of using black RCRA hazardous waste containers.

Examples of bulk chemotherapy waste can include:

Materials used to clean up spills

IV bags that are not empty

Personal protective equipment that is soaked in chemotherapy wastes

Hazardous pharmaceutical waste


Trace Chemo Waste vs Bulk Chemo Waste

Trace chemo waste are materials that contain trace amounts of a chemotherapy agent. The 'cutoff' to be considered trace chemotherapy waste and 'RCRA empty' is that no more than 3% the weight contains chemotherapy drugs. The yellow container is for only trace amounts of chemo drug waste.

Bulk chemo waste are materials that contain more than a trace amount of chemotherapy drugs, meaning more than 3% of the residual drug remains and it must be managed as a hazardous waste. The black container is for 'bulk amounts' RCRA waste.

Characteristic Hazardous Waste

Wastes are defined as hazardous in California if they exhibit one of the four characteristics of hazardous wastes: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity.

Due to the toxicity and corrosive nature of chemotherapy waste, it is important to follow best practices for chemotherapy waste disposal.

Nine chemotherapy drugs listed as hazardous waste pharmaceuticals by the RCRA include:

Arsenic Trioxide (P012)

Chlorambucil (U035)

Cyclophosphamide (U058)

Daunomycin (U059)

Melphalan (U150)

Mitomycin C (U010)

Streptozotocin (U206)

Uracil Mustard (U237)

Diethylstilbestrol (U089)

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Healthcare Safety Plans

Disposal of chemotherapy waste should be done through a licensed medical waste disposal company.

Hazardous waste chemotherapy drugs present many dangers even in low levels of exposure. A medical waste disposal company can help advise on how to handle, segregate, and dispose of any chemotherapy wastes.

Provide medical waste training

Before staff handles chemotherapy waste, it is important that healthcare workers understand the risks associated with chemotherapy drugs, how to stay safe during administration and disposal, how to correctly dispose of all materials, and how to prepare waste containers for proper disposal.

Understand all California and federal regulations

Understand all regulations for safe handling and disposal of chemotherapy waste including the California Medical Waste Management Act and Environmental Protection Agency, OSHA, and US Department of Transportation.

Use proper disposal containers

Trace chemotherapy waste should go into a yellow trace chemotherapy container which is labeled "Chemotherapy Waste" or "Chemo" on the lids and sides. Bulk chemo or hazardous waste should be disposed of using an RCRA hazardous waste container. Sharps containers should be used to further segregate trace chemo wastes which have the capability to pierce skin.

Have chemotherapy waste disposal collected by a medical waste company

Only a licensed medical waste hauler can transport trace chemotherapy waste for treatment and disposal. In order to ensure all of your medical waste is properly disposed of, you should contract with a medical waste company for pickups at a compliant service frequency.

Contact Eco Medical for Chemotherapy Waste Management

We are a licensed medical waste disposal company regularly servicing trace chemotherapy and hazardous waste in California. With over 10 years of experience handling medical waste in California, we can help ensure all of your medical and hazardous material is properly disposed of.

We can help ensure you are following all proper disposal practices for all regulated medical waste, including biohazard waste, sharps waste, pharmaceutical waste, pathology waste, chemotherapy waste, and hazardous waste. Contact us now for a free quote today.


Have a question? Our team is happy to assist you!

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