What Is Chemo Waste?


Properly disposing of your medical waste reduces exposure for your employees and helps keep the environment clean and safe.
If you produce chemotherapy waste, you will be dealing with hazardous and borderline hazardous waste that you must handle and dispose properly.

What Is Chemo Waste?

Chemo waste includes materials contaminated with or used during the preparation and administration of chemotherapy.
Uncontaminated chemotherapy waste items can be treated as regulated medical waste, and belong in their own waste category.

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Yellow Bin and Black Bin Medical Waste

However, items contaminated with a substance that is toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive are deemed hazardous by the EPA (many chemo waste items fall into this category). Therefore, these need to be treated as hazardous waste.
Because hazardous waste must be handled and disposed separately from other chemo waste items, you will want to separate your waste into separate waste bins: one for non-hazardous chemo waste (yellow), and one for hazardous waste (black).

What Is the Difference Between Trace and Bulk Chemotherapy Waste?

This type of waste can be separated into two categories: hazardous and non-hazardous. However, you may hear it referenced in other ways too.

Non-hazardous waste can also be referred to as yellow bin waste, trace chemo waste, or RCRA empty waste. Likewise, hazardous waste may reference to black bin waste, bulk chemo waste, or non-RCRA empty waste.

Trace and bulk chemo waste items are typically the exact same items. They are segregated based on levels of contamination. Waste nearly free of contamination qualifies as trace waste. Waste that is highly contaminated qualifies as bulk waste.

The reason these items are disposed of separately is that highly contaminated chemo waste, or waste containing specified drugs can be classified as hazardous waste. If any chemotherapy waste item qualifies as hazardous, it belongs in a black waste bin. If it does not, it must be put in a yellow bin for separate disposal.

When Do I Need Yellow Bins/Bags?

Chemo waste that goes in yellow bags or bins is treated as regulated medical waste. The exact rules vary from region to region. However, according to regulation, it must contain less than 3% contamination. This waste can also reference to trace chemo waste or RCRA empty waste. As a result, it goes in a yellow bag or bin labeled as non-hazardous chemotherapy waste.

Items that Belong in a Yellow Medical Waste Bag
Yellow Bin RCRA Empty Chemo WasteEmpty IV bags and vials
Empty syringes
And more

When Do I Need Black Bins/Bags?

Chemotherapy waste that goes in black bags or bins is considered hazardous by RCRA. Many of these items are unused versions of items that could otherwise be placed in yellow bins, such as full vials, IV bags, or certain bottles of pills. If chemo fluids contaminate gloves or gowns during the administration of chemotherapy, those items would also be considered hazardous and go in a black bag.

Items that Belong in a Black Medical Waste Bag
Unused or partially empty IV bags and vials
Unutilized or partially empty syringes
Unused medications
And more

How to classify hazardous waste as well as dispose of hazardous waste, you need to check local laws and regulations frequently to better understand your facility’s medical waste requirements.

The YG series is professionally developed to provide you with the most reliable waste disposal machine to manage all your hazardous and biomedical as well as hospital waste disposal needs. We can safely and responsibly dispose of your blue, black, yellow, red and sharp medical waste.

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