The Mystery of Chemical & Pharmaceutical Waste

(apologies to mystery solvers everywhere)


Aside from a few unlucky felines, it may very well be the defining characteristic of Homo sapiens, the distinguishing feature that sets us apart from most other living things on our fair planet.  It’s the instinctual drive to, like a toddler of the species Homo sapiens hopped up on multi-grain, GMO free, naturally sweetened “Os”, continually ask “Why? Why? Why?”…and later pose the perhaps more important query, “Why not?”

And we at UHN are fortunate to be surrounded by many who have become proficient at not only asking “why”, but then answering their own questions. And while I definitely do not put myself in the same league as these question askers and answerers, I do find myself pondering the occasional mystery from time to time…which, as of late, has had me coming back to the same question:  Why do things taste better when wrapped and in a tortilla?

I mean, free range anchovies are a delicacy in their own right, but slather on some tangy sauce stuff, throw in some leafy green stuff, roll in flat unleavened bread…and the whole becomes way more than the sum of the parts.

Is it the juxtaposition of dense breadiness and lighter filling where the magic happens? Could it be the wrapping itself, forcing seemingly disparate ingredients into an unexpected melange of flavours that pleasantly surprises the palate?  I have to admit, I’m stumped on this one…and after (way too) much contemplation, the only thing I can come up with is that’s really just a matter of having the right things (wraps, et al) at the right time (when I’m about to eat it).  Which is a really, really (really!) weak segue into the proper disposal of chemical and pharmaceutical waste…but here goes…

Like wrapped edibles, chemicals and drugs have a right place and a right time. Third party eco-certified floor detergents work better if used on the floor (right place) when cleaning (right time) as opposed to in your double-triple fair trade soypuccino (wrong place) at breakfast (wrong time).  Subcutaneous delivery of nemolizumab to treat atopic dermatitis – well the right place and time is still being studied, but I’m pretty sure that nemolizumab in your mid-afternoon triple-double free range soypuccino is the wrong place and wrong time.

So, to help with the right place and time, we’ve developed detailed policies and procedures for the disposal of pharmaceutical waste and the disposal of chemical waste (including even more detailed policies for Research and LMP), installed these great drug disposal bins throughout our facilities and have great posters clarifying where hazardous waste should go…but because UHN is a busy place (and because links to our policies and posters will only work on computers connected to the UHN network), we at Talkin’ Trash have made things even easier by wrapping them up in…

UHN’s 3.5 Golden Rules of Chemical & Pharmaceutical Waste

  1. If you’re dumping it…you’re drinking it (yechh!)
  2.  Chemical waste and pharmaceutical waste must never, ever (never!) be disposed of in red or yellow biomedical waste bins (that’s really dangerous).
    •  Only exception to Golden Rule #2: cytotoxic drugs and waste must be disposed of in red bags or sharps containers (of course there’s an exception).
  3. If you’re not sure of how or where to dispose of chemicals or pharmaceuticals…ask!

Mystery solved.