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Trace Chemo and Chemotherapy Waste

Bulk chemotherapy waste

Is any waste contaminated with more than residual amounts of chemotherapy drugs
Examples include:

  • drug dispensing devices or IV bags that are not completely empty;
  • gloves, gowns or other materials that have chemotherapy drugs spilled on them; and
  • spill cleanup materials. 

Pourable chemotherapy/oncology chemicals should be left in their original container and may be brought to the hazardous waste pick-up.

  1. Place the bottles in the designated plastic container for bulk chemotherapy waste (usually a five-gallon, sealable bucket)
  2. Label container (WASTe Tag), include the chemical name of the chemotherapeutic and percentage, and select toxic or any additional hazard classifications
  3. Dispose of within 90 days bring it you hazardous waste pick-up

For more information visit:

How to prepare your hazardous chemical waste

Trace Chemo

Trace chemotherapy wastes fall into two categories:

  • Items contaminated with residual amounts of chemotherapy drugs, such as empty drug bottles, drug dispensing devices or IV bags and tubing, empty containers, syringes, and sharps
  • Gloves, gowns, masks, goggles and other disposable items used when administering chemotherapy drugs if chemotherapy drugs have not spilled, leaked or dripped on them.  

However, in order for an item to be considered a type of trace chemotherapy waste, they must be considered “empty” by definition of the RCRA. That means less than 3% of the previous volume can remain. 

How to Manage Trace Chemo Waste:

Trace chemo waste
 should not be brought to the hazardous chemical waste pick-up.

  • Segregate the different wastes; if you mix nonhazardous trace chemotherapy waste with infectious waste or solid waste, the mixture must be managed as trace chemotherapy waste (i.e., incinerated).
  • Place all trace chemotherapy waste in rigid, puncture resistant plastic containers labeled “trace chemotherapy” and “incinerate only” soft trace chemotherapy waste, including items like gloves, disposable gowns, towels, empty IV bags and tubing, can be placed in either a rigid plastic container or a tear resistant yellow plastic bag or double plastic bag that meets or exceeds 165 grams resistance.
  • Dispose of these via the medical waste program. these should be placed in special yellow barrels located in medical waste storage areas.

   Medical Waste Drop-Off Areas and Access

For more information about trace chemo waste contact: