Pharmaceutical and Hazardous Waste Disposal

Waste Disposal Microsite Answers Veterinary Questions
Hazardous waste disposal, safe drug disposal, federal and state regulations, environmental impacts—these are just a few of the day-to-day challenges veterinarians must address in order to be legally compliant as well as good citizens. To help veterinarians deal with the complex waste disposal issues, the AVMA has launched a Waste Disposal microsite.

“This new AVMA microsite provides a single location that veterinarians can turn to for answers,” explains Dr. Kristi Henderson, assistant director of the Scientific Activities Division and staff to the AVMA’s Committee on Environmental Issues (CEI).

“Practitioners need to be aware of the federal standards by which everyone must abide, as well as  their local and state regulations, which vary across the nation. This AVMA site connects them to a multitude of resources and information that will help them meet the challenges of proper waste disposal.”

The microsite is divided into five areas: definitions, federal regulations, state regulations, AVMA resources, and clinical resources. The “clinical resources section” of the site is a new member benefit, accessible only by AVMA members.

For more information, please visit, or the microsite.

Veterinary Compliance Assistance (VetCA) Website
The AVMA and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences have created another valuable resource for veterinarians looking for authoritative information about waste disposal and other environmental issues.

The newly created Veterinary Compliance Assistance website, or VetCA provides a plethora of pollution prevention and compliance assistance information for the entire veterinary profession. It’s a comprehensive resource covering all the varieties of veterinary hospital wastes, as well as all the rules that apply to them, including both federal regulations and the specific rules that apply in your state. It augments well the AVMA microsite, Waste Disposal by Veterinary Practices: What Goes Where? listed above.


New Resources Help Veterinarians Go Green and Handle Waste Disposal
Veterinarians can play a critical role in preserving the health of our ecosystem. The AVMA recently posted information on its website to assist veterinary practices in making environmental improvements, or becoming “more green,” including drug and biohazard disposal, waste management issues, and energy conservation efforts.

A separate area of the website is dedicated to waste disposal in particular. Do you dispose of an unflushed chemotherapy line the same way you dispose of sharps? Well, you shouldn’t. Waste disposal is complex, regulated on the local, state and national levels, and there’s often more than one agency involved. Curious? Confused?

For answers, look no further than the AVMA Waste Disposal pages for guidance and resources on how you can compile a list of hazardous wastes generated by your clinic; information regarding the OSHA-required Hazard Communication Plan; state waste disposal programs; guidance on proper disposal of all types of waste generated by veterinary practices; compliance and training resources; and the answers to many of your frequently asked questions. Although many of the resources are open-access, the most valuable content is only available to AVMA members.


AVMA Promotes Best Practices for Disposal of Pharmaceuticals
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has created a video illustrating best practices on the proper disposal of veterinary pharmaceuticals (see video below).

After reviewing the AVMA guidance, which was developed in communication with EPA staff, the EPA cancelled its current plans to require that the healthcare industry, including veterinarians, complete a survey on how drugs are disposed of in veterinary facilities. Veterinarians are already good stewards of the environment, but AVMA’s guidance was developed to even further minimize drug waste in water.

“When we saw the initial draft survey, we realized it was going to take our members approximately 40 hours to complete,” said Dr. Lynne White-Shim, assistant director of the scientific activities division of the AVMA. “We worked with a wide variety of councils, committees and staff members, including governmental relations, to arrive at a solution that satisfied EPA’s concerns while saving our members both time and money.”

More information is also available at, and the video is available at the AVMA Media Library or by clicking below.