It has been several years since the COVID crisis hit and you may still have some hand sanitizer left over if you overbought during that time. Unfortunately, hand sanitizer does expire, so what should you do with expired hand sanitizer? What is the proper way to dispose of it?
How do I dispose of hand sanitizer at home?
For households with a few expired bottles, whether it is alcohol based or non-alcohol based, you should give some thought to disposal since hand sanitizers are classified as “household hazardous waste.” It might seem fine to just throw the expired sanitizer in your trash but this could lead to a potential chemical or fire hazard. Instead, the expired bottles can be taken to a local household hazardous waste drop-off location where they will be disposed of safely. Click here to find a location in your zip code.
As a business, what is the best way to dispose of several cases of expired hand sanitizer?
Businesses have a more complicated road to disposal of expired alcohol-based sanitizers. Since these sanitizers contain at least 60% alcohol, their ignitable nature makes them classified as hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA).
When at all possible, expired hand sanitizer should be recycled, which must be done in compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, Section 260.43. Keep in mind that when disposing of expired hand sanitizer, it is typically a state agency which provides the enforcement and interpretation of EPA hazmat regulations, not the federal government. Therefore, it is important to know the specific guidelines in your particular location, whether recycling or disposing of expired alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
The best bet is to contact a professional medical waste management company which understands all the intricacies for proper, legal disposal in your area. Here are a few links to medical waste management companies: Hazardous Waste Experts, MedPro Disposal and MCF Environmental Services.
As you’re properly disposing of your expired sanitizer, don’t forget to reorder so your business or facility remains well-stocked, healthy and germ free. Health Guard® by Kutol has got you covered with a full line of alcohol-based and alcohol free hand sanitizers as well as dispensers.
One final note: expired hand sanitizers should never be disposed of down a drain. The liquid and vapors in water pipes and sewer systems can cause fires and explosions. One estimation is dumping 50 or so gallons of alcohol-based hand sanitizer down the drain, once vaporized, is enough to blow municipal sewer system’s manhole covers up into the air. No one wants to be responsible for something that could have been so easily avoided.