Disposal of Veterinary Medicines

Disposal of Veterinary Medicines


There are basically two types of waste that are generated by the stakeholders involved in the veterinary medicinal products industry, namely veterinary pharmaceutical waste and used packaging stuff.  Veterinary pharmaceutical waste consists of unused, unsuitable or expired veterinary medicinal products while material derived from used packaging stuff is mainly made up of cardboard and plastic.  The latter is usually classified as recyclable material as well.

The improper disposal of antimicrobial Veterinary Medicinal Products or animal products or by-products containing them may contribute to the problem of antimicrobial resistance. The Department is always studying ways on how measures can be put into effect to avoid such unsafe disposal.  

Veterinary Pharmaceutical Waste

Both the industry and private individuals may generate a quantity of veterinary pharmaceutical waste that may be hazardous to the environment and/or animal and human health if not disposed of according to the proper procedure. Any precautionary and safety measures or indication of potential risks, which are specified on the product from which the waste has been derived, must be taken in consideration.
There are three different types of Pharmaceutical waste. Each type has to be disposed of in a different way.

  • Small amount of pharmaceutical waste (not cytotoxic) generated mainly by private non-commercial individuals.
  • Large quantity of pharmaceutical waste (not cytotoxic) generated mainly by commercial or governmental entities, e.g. farmers, veterinary pharmacies, veterinary wholesale dealer, medicated feed mills, veterinarians or research centres. 
  • Cytotoxic Pharmaceutical Waste.

Procedure for the Disposal of Small Quantity of Pharmaceutical Waste

As from the December 2021 clients can start disposing of old, unused, unwanted, or expired medicine at an authorised veterinary pharmacy located around Malta and Gozo. At these premises can dispose of loose or packaged tablets and capsules, bottled medicines, and medicinal cream tubes.  

Before disposing of any medicines, be sure to remove all medicine packaging, information leaflets, and any plastic caps, cups or spoons. You can dispose of these greys recycle bag. 

You can dispose of any empty glass medicine bottles in your glass bin.   

Clients can also dispose of old, unused, expired medicines at Civic Waste Amenity Sites that are located in several parts of the Maltese islands can take up small amounts of pharmaceutical waste from private citizens. The waste producer should contact designated personnel from these sites for information regarding the quantities that are allowed to be disposed of in these sites.

The Scheme is not intended for industrial waste.

Procedure for the Disposal of Large Quantity of Pharmaceutical Waste

The pharmaceutical waste must go through a ‘Waste Acceptance Procedure’ and the waste producer has to contact the designated official responsible for it at the Wasteserv Thermal Treatment Facility before the waste is taken to this facility.

Procedure for the Disposal of Cytotoxic Pharmaceutical Waste

Neither the Civic Waste Amenity Sites nor WasteServe have a facilities to accept cytotoxic waste. Therefore, such waste cannot be disposed of at these sites. 
However, there are waste brokers which may be licensed to export this waste. Waste Producers should contact the WasteServe for further information. 

Recyclable Material From Packaging Stuff

Importers of goods have to recycle a certain percentage of packaging material in order to comply with the current legislation of L.N. 98 of 2004. It must be emphasised that contracted companies which offer this service might not necessarily be the same ones that are registered as waste brokers or waste carriers.