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Pharmaceuticals



Well, I am in my new home at the University of Texas, and am finally putting my head above the mass of administrative issues to get back to P2.
 
I got one of my first calls and it is a big issue. 
 
The caller coordinates a series of hospice operations.  He has been getting an increasing number of calls from people who want to know what to do with pharmaceuticals that are left over.    I am sure we all know this is an emerging issue. After a lot of research he came my way.  To date the best solution he has heard is to water down the chemicals, pour them over kitty litter and trash them...GASP!  Others are flushing them into the POTW system.So far H2E list serve is telling me that there isn't really a good strategy yet...so I know this crowd of creative thinkers will come up with something.   A series of local programs are attempting to address it with take back and disposal programs. They all remind me of control or remediation.  Even these programs are challenged because you are dealing with controlled substances that also pose a hazard to the environment.    
 
I spoke with some POTW people and they are also vexed. Not only is disposal an issue, but much of the chemical finds it's way into the toliet as urine.
 
Anybody got a good idea? 
 
I will get ahead of some of the more philosophical people and say the ultimate source reduction is not to get sick.  Barring that, what should be done with left over pharmaceuticals from home health care/hospice?
 
Thomas Vinson-Peng
Southwest Network for Zero Waste
University of Texas
10100 Burnet Rd.  CEER-R 7100
Austin, TX 78758
Phone: 512/232-7149
Fax: 512/471-1720
www.zeroWasteNetwork.org
tvinson@mail.utexas.edu
 

The Southwest Zero Waste Network is a proud member of the National Prevention Resource Exchange http://www.p2rx.org