Vaccine waste disposal – how to treat hazardous pharmaceutical waste onsite


The correct disposal of vaccine waste has always been a prominent challenge in the pharmaceutical industry. As these are considered to be hazardous pharmaceutical waste, many medical facilities must face the difficulties that can arise with the proper storage and transportation guidelines concerning leftover materials that can still be considered a risk to patient and staff safety. But what if there was a solution that could lift some of this burden, without compromising safety and effectiveness?

In Celitron’s following article, we will discuss the basics of vaccine waste disposal, as well as how our very own solution can help those working in the pharmaceutical industry.

What you should know about vaccine and hazardous pharmaceutical waste disposal

The disposal of empty vaccine vials and outdated or expired vaccines especially fall under the category of hazardous pharmaceutical waste. Depending on your local government’s regulations, unused vials and empty syringes may be disposed of like regular municipal trash, but that is certainly not the case with medical sharps waste, multi-dose vials, prefilled syringes, or if the toxicity concentration of the vaccine exceeds a certain level.

Sharps waste for instance need their own color-coded containers for storage before they can be transported away for disposal. Since they can easily pierce through trash bags, and cut the skin of staff through it, they can be an especially hazardous type of pharmaceutical waste. The same is true for all kinds of potentially infectious materials like expired vaccine waste: before the disposal can take place, you need to be sure that your waste management system is up to date regarding the rules of storage and transportation.

While it is true that certain unused vaccine vials can be returned to your supplier, the responsibility for finding a safe disposal solution will often be yours. The same is true for vaccine roller bottles, which are used by many pharmaceutical operations during the production of medicine.

Disposal of empty vaccine vials and infectious pharmaceutical waste – why it should always be taken seriously

Anyone who plays a part in the production of vaccines has a huge responsibility in ensuring that the waste disposal is done correctly. If you fail to do it, it can lead to some very drastic safety consequences like serious bacterial infections and viral outbreaks.

Apart from a clean environment, staff will definitely need to use all available methods at their disposal to minimize the severe risks that could come with cross-contamination, and to ensure the safety of all workers, as well as the outside environment of the facility. Not to mention that this is a violation punishable by law.

Celitron’s vaccine waste disposal system – this is how you can easily dispose hazardous pharmaceutical waste!

To help your employees in giving the proper attention to vaccine waste disposal, Celitron has created a complete “all-in-one” system that provides a fast, safe, user-friendly, and of course, highly effective solution for the disposal of leftovers such as empty vaccine vials. This machine is the Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder (ISS for short): an equipment that combines the steam sterilization technology of autoclaves and the power of medical waste shredders.

To be more precise, these are the materials in vaccine production that you can treat with the ISS for prompt pharmaceutical waste disposal:

  • Outdated vaccines
  • Vaccine roller bottles and other cell culture dishes
  • Petri dishes
  • Cryoware and labware
  • Specimen containers 

Apart from the versatility of treatable pharmaceutical leftovers, there are many other reasons why you should consider using the ISS for vaccine waste disposal. These include:

1. Reducing the risks associated with storage and transportation

Hazardous pharmaceutical waste typically requires a separate, designated storage area far from patients and with color-coded medical waste containers. This is meant to segregate the different types of medical waste, and to reduce risks with waste like medical sharps, which can easily pierce through the average trash bag, and spread infections. After that, transportation services still need to carry this hazardous pharmaceutical waste before the final disposal can take place.

With Celitron’s ISS, there is no need for any of that, since the disposal of empty vaccine vials and other materials are immediately rendered and sterilized, coming out as a much smaller, risk-free dry mass that can be removed like any other regular garbage. To make it even easier for you, the ISS will automatically load it into a municipal waste container via a conveyor belt.

No need to store any hazardous leftovers anymore or worry about their correct transportation!

2. Cheaper and easier to use, sustainable operation

Celitron’s onsite vaccine waste disposal system can help all medical facilities to reduce their costs significantly with inexpensive operation and maintenance, as well as a completely automated process that reduces associated labor costs as well.

What’s more, aside from being able to work more profitably, you will also be able to greatly reduce the environmental footprint of your business, since our machine only uses steam for the sterilization process, and no chemicals whatsoever. The shredder pharmaceutical waste isn’t just sterile, but greatly reduced in size, making further recycling opportunities even easier.

Not to mention that since the entire sterilization, shredding, and unloading process is automatic, medical staff won’t need to have any kind of special qualification to be able to use the ISS! And the cherry on top: it comes with its own automatic cleaning system.

3. Designed for patient and staff safety

As a class B vaccine waste disposal system, Celitron’s ISS complies with all necessary life science laboratory quality standards and is completely in line with the recommendations of both the EU and the WHO. Since this onsite equipment can perform steam sterilization and pharmaceutical waste shredding within one single vessel, there is absolutely no risk of any cross-contamination.

4. Customizable to fit your needs

You may choose from capacities ranging from 25 to as many as 1200 liters, and can even customize the sterilization cycles of Celitron’s vaccine waste disposal system to fit with the amount and type of pharmaceutical waste generated at your facility.

All in all, if you’re looking for an easy-to-use, effective onsite vaccine waste disposal system that complies with all pertaining regulations regarding pharmaceutical leftovers, you should definitely take a closer look at Celitron’s Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder: many medical facilities are already using it with great results!

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