The American Veterinary Medical Association has a "What is Waste" page with more information on veterinary waste.
Some waste pharmaceuticals must be managed as hazardous waste. Federal and state regulations impose requirements on pharmaceuticals that are considered hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is divided into two categories, listed wastes and characteristic wastes. Common "hazardous waste" medicines used in the veterinary field include:
Pharmaceuticals may be sent through reverse distribution if accepted by the manufacturer. Hazardous waste pharmaceuticals must be sent to a permitted treatment, storage, or disposal facility through a licensed hazardous waste hauler. As always with hazardous wastes, some state regulations are significantly stricter than federal regulations.
The CRC Hazardous Waste page has more information.
Controlled substances are specific drugs, such as some pain killers, that are regulated by the DEA. The DEA requires retail facilities with controlled substances to register and to follow specific procedures for handling controlled substances, including procedures for disposal. The DEA generally requires that controlled substances be transferred only to other registrants (i.e., DEA-registered reverse distributors), that they be destroyed (e.g., by incineration), and that certain records be maintained. While some drugs may be regulated by DEA as controlled substances, a smaller number will be both controlled substances and hazardous wastes. In order for your hazardous waste hauler to carry these drugs, they must also be DEA-registered. The DEA maintains drug disposal information on its website.
There are also some non-medicinal products that may need to be managed as a hazardous waste. For example, some types of water treatment solutions for aquariums have corrosive characteristics and may be considered hazardous waste. You should perform a hazardous waste determination before disposal of any waste.
Medical waste, such as bandages, culture dishes, medical gloves, instruments or lancets, medical sharps (needles) to give shots or draw blood, and swabs ,may be subject to regulation as medical waste in many jurisdictions. Typically, facilities are required to have closed and marked "biohazard" red containers with a puncture resistant bag or lining for collection of medical waste onsite. Specific requirements may apply for packaging, storing, and transporting medical waste. Some states require training, tracking, and recordkeeping. Certain types of infectious medical waste may also be subject to federal requirements for transportation. The Healthcare Environmental Resource Center has more information on DOT regulations for medical waste and the DOT has guidance on transporting infectious substances.
Unused pet food from returned, damaged, or expired products can be evaluated for composting or possible donation (there may be safety concerns with donating damaged or expired pet food, and donation would not be appropriate for returns associated with recalls.) If appropriate, donating the food to a farm would both reduce landfilled waste and provide food for another animal. The EPA's Food Recovery Hierarchy was developed for human food waste, but can be used as a guide for finding alternative options for pet food.
Pesticides, including products designed to kill or repel fleas and ticks, are regulated by the EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and also by state and local governments. There are a number of requirements for the registration, labeling, and handling of pesticides. The CRC Product Compliance and Toxics page has more information on retail pesticide sales.
Wastewater from operating mobile grooming operations is regulated in some local municipalities. Wastewater should never be dumped directly into storm drains. Drain wastewater into a sewer system where it can be treated to remove the detergents. Trapping fur and hair is important to prevent clogging of plumbing and sewers.
The Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition offers strategies, tools and training to improve sustainability throughout the pet industry.