Trace Chemotherapy Waste

Chemotherapy Waste Disposal

MERI collects and properly destroys bulk and trace chemotherapy waste.

We can assist in helping you to follow your local, state and federal regulations when it comes to the disposal of each type of waste. For example, in Wisconsin, this guide from the WI DNR explains how to manage trace chemotherapy waste. 

What’s the Difference between

Trace and Bulk Chemo Waste?


Trace Chemotherapy

This type of waste falls into two categories:
  • Items contaminated with residual amounts of chemotherapy drugs, such as empty drug bottles, drug dispensing devices or IV bags and tubing. (i.e. the container is “RCRA empty”)
  • Gloves, gowns, masks, goggles and other disposable items used when administering chemotherapy drugs.
Trace chemotherapy items are often placed in yellow containers.

An affordable and compliant solution to dispose of a small amount of trace chemotherapy waste is to use a mailback kit.

MERI’s mailback kits are often used by:

  • Home infusion pharamacies
  • Traveling nurses who assist with in-home cancer treatments
  • Smaller medical clinics
  • Veterinarians
  • Biotech research companies

Bulk Chemotherapy

This waste has more than a residual amount of chemotherapy drugs.
Examples include:
  • Drug dispensing devices or IV bags that are not completely empty
  • Spill cleanup materials.

Bulk chemotherapy waste should be in an RCRA container. This means the container is rated by the Department of Transport to carry this type of hazardous material. The container is often the color black.

The label on the container must read “hazardous pharmaceutical waste. ” Secondly, it must have a DOT hazard class label. An EPA-permitted hazardous waste transporter is the only one who can collect it. Finally, it can be disposed at an EPA-permitted and authorized treatment facility.