An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule regarding the disposal of hazardous pharmaceutical waste took effect on August 21, 2019. The rule, first published in the Federal Register, prohibits the practice of “sewering hazardous waste pharmaceuticals,” which include drugs that cannot be expected to be legitimately used, reused, or reclaimed, and those that exhibit corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive characteristics. Notably, EPA recommends refraining from disposal of any drug in this manner, according to the American Pharmacists Association

The rule change was made under the Conservation and Recovery Act, which gives EPA authority to regulate hazardous waste. Most states are expected to adopt the regulation but may decline, if they so choose. Additional information is available in slides from an April 2019 webinar that are on the EPA website

One way consumers can safely dispose of medications is to find a disposal kiosk via the Drug Disposal Locator Tool available in the AWARXE® Prescription Drug Safety section of the NABP website. This tool allows consumers to view a map of disposal sites near them by entering a zip code or their city and state. The locations are continually updated, and more than 7,500 disposal sites nationwide can be found within the system. Consumers can learn more about how to safely dispose of unwanted, unneeded, or expired medications by visiting the Dispose Safely page.