April 22, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Rum Bins

When will the new RUM bins be available?

The new one-way entry yellow RUM bin will be available in all wholesalers (API, CH2, National Pharmacy Distributors, Sigma, Symbion) from April 2020.

How do I order the new RUM bins?

The new RUM bin will be ordered directly from your preferred wholesaler.

How do I fix the lid to the new RUM bin?

The red seal needs to be removed from inside the RUM bin before using it. It is quick and easy to do.

All you need to do is snap the main lid into the slots on the bin – it should clip in very easily. The smaller lid then clips into the slot for sealing the RUM bin once full – it will snap shut and seal the contents in the RUM bin if pressure is applied. It is designed not to be re-opened, so seal it prior to returning your full RUM bin.

There are also assembly instructions in  your RUM bins.

Do I still need to organise a CRA to send a full RUM bin back to the wholesaler?

Yes, a return authority will still be required for the wholesaler’s courier to pick up your full RUM bin.

Can the old RUM bins still be used?

The white round RUM bins can still be used. Please make sure you have exhausted all supplied of the old RUM bins before you start using the new one-way entry RUM bin.

What will I do with the other RUM bins?

Keep using them as before and return the full RUM bin to the wholesaler as usual. Nothing has changed following the collection of a full RUM bin from your pharmacy. They are all returned to the wholesaler’s distribution centre (i.e. Warehouse), where they are collected by the incineration contractor on a regular basis before being incinerated. RUM bins are not opened, or the contents inspected prior to incineration. The sealed RUM bin is placed directly into a high-temperature incineration for environmentally friendly disposal.

Will all the old RUM bins be removed from circulation?

Yes, there will only be the one type of RUM bin, once all of the previous RUM bins are returned full and ready for destruction. Please make sure that you use all your old-style white RUM bins first before using the new yellow RUM bins

How should I dispose of the medicine boxes/packaging?

All packaging (boxes, inserts) should be disposed of correctly into the recycle bins at the pharmacy as the new RUM bins are designed to accept only the foil strips or loose tablets. This is really important to help minimise the costs associated with the disposal of unwanted medicines.

Does the pharmacy need to remove all the tablets from the foils?

No, it is not required to remove tablets/capsules from the foil strips – the foil strips containing any medicines can be put into the RUM bin via the one-way opening.

How can the pharmacy dispose of dose administration aids now?

Dose administration aids, such as sachets and blister packs can still be put into the new RUM bins. It would be appreciated though if only those containing medicines were actually put into the RUM bin – the empty DAAs can be put directly into the rubbish bin, providing you have removed any patient information.

Will the wholesaler still collect the old RUM bin?

Yes, the wholesalers will still be collecting the old RUM bins as usual.

Will the wholesaler collect old and new RUM bins at the same time?

Yes, the wholesalers will be able to pick up both old and new RUM bins at the same time as long as you have the correct return authority. The wholesalers will not need to distinguish whether the RUM bin is the old or new RUM bin.

What happens if something is accidently put into the new RUM bin – can it be retrieved?

Once something is put into the RUM bin it is not possible to retrieve it – the lid is permanently attached and is designed this way to prevent anything from being removed from the RUM bin. This is an important safety feature of the new RUM bins.

What happens if a medicine does not fit through the opening of the new RUM bin?

If a product does not fit through the opening of the new RUM bin, then you will need to break it down to smaller pieces so that it will fit in.

Can liquids still be put into the new RUM bin?

Yes, liquids can be poured into the RUM as long as you have other unwanted medicines to help absorb the liquid. You may want to tip in some absorbent material if there is a significant volume of liquid – e.g.. sawdust or Kitty Litter are useful. Do not fill a RUM bin with liquid alone.

Can sharps be put into the new RUM bin?

No sharps are not to be put into the RUM bin. Any sharps returned to a community pharmacy must be disposed of in the correct manner. Different states have different policies, so refer to your state Health Department for advice.

Can tubes be put into the RUM bins?

Yes, tubes can be placed into the RUM bin.

Can inhalers be put into the RUM bin?

Yes, the inhaler cannister can be placed into the RUM bin. It is recommended that the plastic administration device be disposed of in the recycling bin and only the aerosol cannister (and only if there is active ingredient remaining in it) into the RUM bin.

Can cytotoxic medicines be put into the RUM bin?

Yes, small quantities of liquid cytotoxic medicines (i.e. PBS quantities of intact ampoules/vials) can also be placed into the RUM bin. Compounded chemotherapy infusion/injectable treatments should not be placed into the RUM bin. These products should be disposed of in an appropriate cytotoxic waste container.

Once a cytotoxic agent has been put into a RUM bin it is best practice to seal that bin and return it your wholesaler for incineration as soon as possible, even if the RUM bin is not completely full at that time.

Can Schedule 8 medicines go into the RUM bin?

Yes, but it remains the responsibility of all pharmacists to ensure that they comply with their jurisdiction’s requirements for the disposal of Schedule 8 medicines. Refer to your state Health Department’s regulation regarding disposal of Schedule 8 medicines.

Will unwanted doses of pharmacotherapy be able to be put into the RUM bin (e.g. methadone or suboxone takeaway dose)?

Yes, but remember that they are Schedule 8 medicines and destruction needs to be according to your state’s requirements. Liquid takeaway doses can be poured into the RUM bin as long as there is enough absorbent material already in the RUM bin. If not, the addition of some sawdust or Kitty litter is advised to prevent any spillage.

Will medicine bottles be able to go into the RUM bin?

Preferably not, but the liquid can be tipped into the RUM bin over the other medicines in it. Bottles and other containers can be disposed of using your recycling bin, perhaps it is a good idea to rinse them out first – this rinse water could be tipped into the RUM bin. 1 litre Methadone bottle should NOT be put into RUM bins.


The Return of Unwanted Medicines Project is a free service that offers a way to dispose of unwanted or expired medicines safely and conveniently at your local community pharmacy. Find out more about the service here.

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