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  Specific waste: Injectable liquids

Injectable pharmaceuticals come in a variety of containers and forms. Some formulations come as a liquid direct from the manufacturer while others are mixed into solution onsite. Injectable pharmaceuticals may be in the following containers:

  • Vials and ampoules
  • Syringe
  • IV bags

The following three categories will be used to highlight different designation and management requirements:

  • With chemotherapy
  • With pharmaceuticals or nutrients
  • Without pharmaceuticals or nutrients

Designation of waste injectable liquids

Liquids with Chemotherapy Agents
  • When chemotherapy agents have been mixed with other liquids the wastes are a considered a chemotherapy waste, either bulk or trace
  • Chemotherapy wastes can designate as either a RCRA hazardous waste or a state-only dangerous waste
  • For designation and management of waste chemotherapy injectable liquids see Specific waste: Chemotherapy
Liquids with Pharmaceuticals and/or Nutrients
  • You must designate all wastes containing pharmaceuticals or nutrients to determine if they are a RCRA hazardous or State-only dangerous waste
    • For example: Lactated ringers. Not all lactated ringers will have the same designation since concentrations and formulations differ. These solutions may have other drugs added to them for delivery
    • Total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Not all TPNs will have the same designation since concentrations and formulations differ. These solutions may have other drugs added to them for delivery
    • To designate liquid Pharmaceutical wastes see the Pharmaceutical Waste Designation Flow chart

Liquids Without Pharmaceuticals or Nutrients: The following solutions are eligible for sewer disposal with authorization from your local sewer authority or the Department of Ecology’s Water Quality Program.

  • Sterile water
  • Saline solution, no nutrients or vitamins added
  • Dextrose solution, no additional nutrients or vitamins added

Management of waste liquid pharmaceuticals

Viable pharmaceuticals: Pharmaceuticals that are eligible for credit from a manufacturer, wholesaler, or reverse distributor are viable pharmaceuticals and not considered waste. Viable pharmaceuticals include any unused and/or unopened pharmaceuticals that receive a credit. Items not receiving a credit must be managed as a waste.

Controlled Substances: If the waste contains a Controlled Substance, for designation and management see Specific Waste: Controlled Substances.

RCRA hazardous waste: Includes any waste formulations that designate as a discarded chemical product (listed waste) or under the federal characteristics of Ignitability, Corrosivity, Reactivity or Toxicity ( Chapter 173-303-090 WAC ).

RCRA hazardous waste:
  • Not a controlled substance: Manage as a dangerous waste at a RCRA-permitted facility
  • RCRA hazardous containers: If the liquid pharmaceutical would be a P-listed waste if disposed, the container is considered a P-listed waste unless it has been triple rinsed. See Specific Wastes: Empty Containers
    • For example, if arsenic trioxide is administered in an IV bag as the sole-active ingredient, the IV bag and all associated tubing would be considered a P012 RCRA hazardous listed waste.
  • See also: Pharmaceutical Waste Management Flowchart

State-only dangerous waste: You can assume any liquid pharmaceutical wastes that are not RCRA hazardous waste are State-only dangerous waste. They can either be managed at an incinerator that meets the criteria of the conditional exclusion Chapter 173-303-071(3)(nn) WAC or as dangerous waste at a RCRA-permitted facility. Please see Pharmaceutical Designation Flowchart.

State-only dangerous waste:

NOTE: Do not dispose of these liquids down the drain or into soiled linens destined for the laundry. Authorization by your local sewer authority is required for disposal of any process waste to sanitary sewer. Sewer agencies may NOT accept dangerous wastes. The sewer authority will also consider how the compounds will affect their treatment system and the microorganisms.