291828 Disposal of Pharmaceutical Waste for Geisinger Health Services

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Bo Yao, Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA and Chris Zins, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA

The active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) in unused pills and medical waste are hardly degradable and prone to accumulate in the ecosystem over time.  Addiitonally, there is a growing problem with regards to adolescents having "pill parties" taking unused pharmaceuticals.  As a consequence, the APIs need to be disposed appropriately.   Geisinger Health System operates a pharmaceutical takeback program to aid with these end other problems associated with unused pharmacueticals.  A task was given to determine the best way to treat the collected pharmaceuticals in a green, easy, and cost effective manner.  In order to narrow down the options of disposal, a variety of technologies and processes are considered in this work as solutions to this challenge.  After cursory comparisons, incineration and Molten Salt oxidation are chosen as the two most feasible processes for Geisinger’s current situation and are studied in depth.  Each process was modeled based upon Geisinger’s expected waste.  Mass and energy balances were then used along with other information to develop a life-cycle analysis comparing each process.  This analysis incorporated operating and capital costs as well as environmental and regulatory issues.  Based on the cost benefit analysis, we recommend that Geisinger continue to dispose of their collected pharmaceuticals via incineration.

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See more of this Session: Student Poster Session: Food, Pharmaceutical, and Biotechnology
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