The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) governs the disposal of solid and hazardous waste, and under RCRA pharmacies are considered hazardous waste generators.
For a very long time, though, there were not clear guidelines in place from the EPA for healthcare facilities and instead healthcare facilities were lumped in with everyone else as Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQGs).
Thankfully, in 2018 (and published in the Federal Register in 2019) the EPA clarified how it intended to regulate healthcare facilities under RCRA. The Hazardous Waste Pharmaceutical and Amendment to the Nicotine (P075) Listing Rule was a godsend for healthcare facilities trying to apply laws intended for factories and other traditional waste generators to avoid being next in line for the slew of fines issued by the EPA against healthcare facilities.
In this article, we'll talk about the major provisions of this rule. It is officially known as "Part 266, Subpart P," so if you're reading up on it you'll see that too.
Amendment to the Nicotine Listing
Thankfully, the EPA ruled that OTC nicotine products were not classified as P075 hazardous waste under RCRA and can be discarded as non-hazardous (solid) waste.
This change does not apply to liquid forms of nicotine, though, including e-cigarettes and the Nicotrol inhaler. Those items must still be disposed of as P075 hazardous waste.