What is Chemotherapy Waste?

Before we talk about its proper waste disposal, let us first understand what the term means. Chemotherapy waste disposal pertains to disposing of IV tubing, medicine bags, vials, or any part of the tubing and needle system that was used in administering the chemotherapy drug to a patient. This may also include personal protective equipment (PPE), towels, wipes, and pads that may have been in contact with the drugs as well.

How to dispose of chemotherapy waste?

Chemotherapy is used for very specific cases, and you don’t want anyone consuming its drugs accidentally through the items mentioned above. Every state and country follows different standards when it comes to disposal management of waste, including chemotherapy waste disposal management. But for the basic, there are two special containers designed to classify its segregation and disposal process:

1. Yellow Container, RCRA-Empty

  • RCRA-Empty is a waste that contains residual amounts of the drug. This container is usually filled with empty IV bags, syringes, and vials;
  • It may also include gloves, pads, and gowns, where trace chemotherapy can be found.
  • These containers are marked with “for incineration only” or “chemotherapy waste” based on state requirements

2. The Black Container, Bulk Chemo

  • These are chemotherapy waste that is not deemed RCRA-empty. This can be half-empty IV bags, vials, or syringes.
  • This also includes items used to clean chemo spill
  • It must be labeled as “hazardous pharmaceutical waste” as per DOT Hazard Classifications


Ask our experts on the proper and legal ways to implement your chemotherapy waste disposal. Patriot MedWaste has been providing medical waste solutions for over ten years in the areas of Washington DC, Southern Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Call now at (240) 712 5223.

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