Health care facilities are prohibited from disposing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals down the toilet or drain [266.505].
Nicotine replacement therapies (i.e., nicotine patches, gums, and lozenges) are no longer included in the P075 listing for nicotine and are no longer considered hazardous waste. However, nicotine continues to be a listed, acute hazardous waste with the hazardous waste code P075.
Triple rinsing of containers with acute hazardous waste pharmaceuticals is not required/allowed anymore.
Subpart P is optional for Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQG’s).
Healthcare facilities and reverse distributors are required to notify DEP using the 8700-12 federal form that they are operating under 40 CFR Part 266 Subpart P [266.502].
All healthcare facilities and reverse distributors are required to document training programs for employees who handle hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, comply with accumulation standards and labeling requirements, submit reports, and maintain records related to the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals.
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, but 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 of in the trash. They are also designed for use by homeowners.
None of these products are suitable for the 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 it 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 – humans 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.