|Guidelines for Safe Disposal for Unwanted Pharmaceuticals in and after emergencies (WHO - OMS, 1999, 31 p.)|
|3. Sorting categories|
A large proportion of the volume of a typical stockpile of waste drugs is not occupied by the pharmaceuticals themselves, but rather by other items, such as medical material and equipment, food, clothing, boxes, pallets, and general rubbish. The first step in dealing with these stockpiles is to remove and dispose of these non-drug, non-chemical items. All such items should be clearly separated from pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
Non-pharmaceutical useful materials
Medical equipment, beds, wheelchairs, dressings, clothing, laboratory glassware, etc. can either be utilized by the institution or by other facilities, recycled, cannibalized for spare parts or disposed to a landfill.
If feasible, pharmaceuticals within their expiry date and considered useful should be separated out and immediately used by the institution or reallocated according to the needs and instructions of the regional health authorities. A list can be prepared giving details of the items available, quantities and expiry dates and circulated to others who can use the materials. While this separation is logical and appealing, experience indicates that it may not always be an efficient use of time and resources.
Acids, alkalis, reagents, phenol-based chemicals used for cleaning floors, disinfectants, etc. can be put to good use. If large quantities of these items are found a list may be prepared and offered to other potential users, such as hospitals, universities, or school laboratories, etc.