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My Watershed

  Specific waste: Tablets and capsules

Tablets and capsules have the potential of designating as a dangerous waste.

  • Some contain sole active constituents that are a RCRA P-Listed or U-Listed hazardous waste. Examples include: warfarin (See Special Waste: Warfarin) and reserpine.
  • Others have constituents that cause them to designate as a RCRA hazardous waste for toxicity. Examples of constituents include: chromium, selenium and cadmium.
  • Chemotherapy pharmaceuticals have a greater potential of designating as a dangerous waste. To learn more about management of waste chemotherapy pharmaceuticals please see Special Wastes: Chemotherapy

Unused and unopened: Discontinued, outdated or unused and unopened product should be returned to the pharmacy to determine if it can be sent for credit to a Reverse Distributor. If it can’t be returned for credit, it is a non-viable pharmaceutical waste.

Partially Used Dosage: When products have been opened and only partially used they become a non-viable waste that cannot be returned to the Reverse Distributer.

Controlled Substances: If waste tablets and capsules are a controlled substance, please see Special Waste: Controlled Substance

Management of Non-viable Tablets and Capsules

Viable tablets and capsules: Those that are eligible for credit from a manufacturer, wholesaler, or reverse distributor are a viable pharmaceutical 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 non-viable waste.

RCRA hazardous waste: Includes any non-viable waste that that contains a P or U-listed constituent or fails the RCRA Characteristics of Ignitability, Corrosivity, Reactivity or Toxicity, Chapter 173-303-090 WAC

Please see the Pharmaceutical Designation Flowchart

  • Dispose as a dangerous waste at a RCRA-permitted facility.

State-only dangerous waste: You can assume that any tablets or capsules that are not RCRA hazardous wastes are State-only dangerous waste. To determine that waste tablets or capsules are not a State-only dangerous waste, you must know the concentration of the pharmaceutical in the waste as well as the acute toxicity information of the pharmaceutical, Chapter 173-303-100 WAC.

Please see the Pharmaceutical Designation Flowchart

    Dispose as either a 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) WAC.

Note: 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 landfill.