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My Watershed

  Specific waste: Nicotine

Nicotine is a chemical on the discarded chemicals list (Chapter 173-303-9903 WAC).  When a product with nicotine, or a nicotine salt, as the sole-active ingredient is discarded or not used for its intended purpose, it is a RCRA hazardous waste with a listed waste code of P075. 

Nicotine products include:

  • Patches
  • Gum and lozenges
  • Inhalers
  • Sprays

Pharmaceutical products that contain nicotine, or any salts of nicotine, and another active ingredient are not P075 RCRA listed waste, but would likely be State-only dangerous waste for toxicity.

The designation and management described on this page is intended for hospitals.

Designation of waste nicotine

Nicotine patches:

  • If the patch is opened and unused, the patch and its wrapper are a P075 listed waste.
  • If the patch is used, it has been used for its intended purpose so it is no longer a P075 RCRA listed hazardous waste. 
    • It may still be a dangerous waste for toxicity under our State-only criteria.
  • The patch wrapper would not carry the P075 assuming that the nicotine patch is being administered and therefore still a product when removed from the wrapper.  No listing would apply.  The packets (container/inner liner) would be a solid waste.

Nicotine gum and lozenges:

  • If the gum/lozenge is opened and unused, the gum/lozenge and its wrapper are P075 listed wastes.
  • If the gum/lozenge is used, it has been used for its intended purpose so it is no longer a P075 RCRA listed hazardous waste. 
    • It may still be a dangerous waste for toxicity under our State-only criteria.
  • The gum/lozenge wrapper is not a P075 listed waste assuming that the nicotine gum/lozenge is being administered and therefore still a product when removed from the wrapper.  No listing would apply.  The packaging (container/inner liner) would be a solid waste. 

Nicotine inhalers:

  • If the inhaler is opened and unused, the entire cartridge is a P075 listed waste.
  • If the inhaler is used, it has been used for its intended purpose, but because there is still a residue of nicotine remaining inside the cartridge, it is still a P075 RCRA listed hazardous waste. 
    • It may also be a dangerous waste for toxicity under our State-only criteria.

Nicotine sprays:

  • If the spray is opened and unused, the entire bottle is a P075 listed waste.
  • If the spray is used, it has been used for its intended purpose, but because there is still a residue of nicotine remaining inside the spray bottle, it is still a P075 RCRA listed hazardous waste. 
    • It may also be a dangerous waste for toxicity under our State-only criteria.

Management of waste nicotine

Viable nicotine:  Nicotine products 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 pharmaceutical that receive a credit.  Items not receiving a credit must be managed as a waste.

RCRA hazardous nicotine waste: This includes any non-viable formulations of nicotine and nicotine salts that designate as listed wastes (Chapter 173-303-080 WAC) or under the RCRA Characteristics of Ignitability, Corrosivity, Reactivity or Toxicity (Chapter 173-303-090 WAC).  This also includes any discarded containers with nicotine residue that have not been triple-rinsed.

  • Manage as a dangerous waste at a RCRA-permitted facility.  It is a violation of the Dangerous Waste Regulations to dispose of these pharmaceuticals in the sewer, sharps container, or a regulated medical waste container.
    • Under the Dangerous Waste Regulations, accumulating more than 2.2 pounds of any P-listed waste, including nicotine, will make you a large quantity generator.  See the regulations for more information: Chapter 173-303 WAC.
    • Under the Interim Enforcement Policy, the listed waste will not count towards your generator status if it is sent to a RCRA-permitted incinerator as hazardous waste on a Uniform Hazardous waste Manifest.
  • See also: Pharmaceutical Waste Management Flowchart

State-only dangerous nicotine waste:  You can assume any nicotine formulations that are not RCRA hazardous waste are State-only dangerous waste.  To determine that it is not a State-only dangerous waste, you must know the remaining concentration of the nicotine and any other ingredients as well as the acute toxicity information of those ingredients.

Manage as either dangerous waste at a RCRA-permitted facility or as excluded waste at an incinerator meeting the criteria of the conditional exclusion [Chapter 173-303-071(3)(nn)].  It is a violation of the Dangerous Waste Regulations to dispose of these pharmaceuticals in the sewer, in a sharps container, or in a regulated medical waste container destined for the landfill.