EPA is proposing to add hazardous pharmaceutical waste to the Universal Waste Rule, according to an agency press release. The proposed rule encourages generators to dispose of pharmaceutical waste that is classified as non-hazardous under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act as universal waste. The proposal will also facilitate the collection of personal medications that are classified as household hazardous waste so they can be managed properly.

The proposed rule applies to pharmacies, hospitals, physicians’ offices, dentists’ offices, outpatient care centers, ambulatory health care services, residential care facilities, and veterinary clinics, as well as other facilities that generate hazardous pharmaceutical waste.

It does not apply to pharmaceutical manufacturing or production facilities.

Currently the federal Universal Waste Rule includes batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and lamps. Universal wastes typically are generated in a wide variety of settings including industrial settings and households, by many sectors of society, and may be present in significant volumes in non-hazardous waste management systems.