Effective August 21, 2019 - Florida has adopted by reference EPA’s 40 CFR 266 Subpart P and will become effective in Florida on August 21 (in 62-730 F.A.C.). Under the new rule (40 CFR 266.507) a container including its residues is considered RCRA empty and is not a hazardous waste. Additionally, Florida will adopt on the same day the nicotine exemption (40 CFR 261.33(e)) that applies to OTC nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gums and lozenges.
“(a) Stock, dispensing and unit-dose containers. A stock bottle, dispensing bottle, vial, or ampule (not to exceed 1 liter or 10,000 pills); or a unit-dose container (e.g., a unit-dose packet, cup, wrapper, blister pack, or delivery device) is considered empty and the residues are not regulated as hazardous waste provided the pharmaceuticals have been removed from the stock bottle, dispensing bottle, vial, ampule, or the unit-dose container using the practices commonly employed to remove materials from that type of container.”
There are specific requirements for syringes (266.507(b)) and other containers and delivery devices (266.507(c) & (d). For more information pertaining to 62.730.186 F.A.C., please view Rule 62.730.186 F.A.C..
Pharmaceutical waste generated by various types of medical facilities can be a difficult waste stream to manage. Not only does your facility need to comply with all applicable hazardous and solid waste regulations, they must also comply with any overlapping regulations from:
Proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste is an emerging issue nationally as low-levels of various pharmaceutical compounds have been found in waterways across the country. This online group provides a national dialogue to organize, discuss and track ideas, projects, grants, and other issues. Participants are primarily from various government agencies, but others are welcome to join.
Mail Back Programs Through Retailers and Disposal Products
Some retailers sell mail back products for unwanted medicines. These are suitable for household use as long as you follow package directions. There are also products available to mix with medications so they can be disposed in the trash. They are also designed for use by homeowners.
None of these products are suitable for disposal of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals from a business like a medical facility or pharmacy. DEP does not regulate any of these products.
Can't find a disposal site or drop-off event?
If you cannot find a disposal site or drop-off event, place the medications in the household trash after taking precautions to prevent accidental ingestion by humans or animals.
To protect the environment, please use these guidelines instead of flushing medications:
Keep in the original container. This will help identify the contents if they are accidentally ingested.
Mark out your name & prescription number for safety.
For pills: add some water or soda to start dissolving them
For liquids: add something inedible like cat litter or dirt
Close the lid and secure with duct or packing tape
Place the bottle(s) inside an opaque (non see-through) container like a detergent container.
Tape that container closed.
Hide the container in the trash. Do not put it in the recycle bin.
DO NOT give drugs to anyone else
DO NOT flush drugs down the toilet.
DO NOT put drugs in the trash without disguising them – human may find them and misuse them.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.