What is a pharmaceutical container?
Examples of pharmaceutical containers include:
- Intravenous (IV) bags and tubing
- Vials and bottles
What is an empty container?
Empty containers are solid waste and can be placed in the regular trash only after they've been properly emptied, unless it contained a chemotherapy agent (see "When is a container dangerous waste?" below).
How to empty a container
A container is considered empty once all of the following criteria is met:
- Emptied using all normal means (see below);
- Contains less than 3 percent of container capacity; and
- Did not contain a pharmaceutical designated as:
Normal means of emptying pharmaceutical containers includes:
- Fully depressing a syringe
- Fully administering an IV bag
- Withdrawing all the contents of a vial with a syringe
When is a container dangerous waste?
A container is dangerous waste when:
- It does not meet all of the "empty" criteria given above.
- It contained a chemotherapy agent, unless the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous chemotherapy and containers have been identified and segregated.
When is a container dual waste?
An empty container is dual waste when it:
- Contained a pharmaceutical whose sole active ingredient is:
- Contained a chemotherapy agent or other sole active pharmaceutical that is assumed to be:
- A P-listed RCRA waste; or
- A WT01 state-only dangerous waste contaminated with body fluids.
How to manage containers of dangerous waste
Manage containers of dangerous waste in this way:
- Manage as pharmaceutical dangerous waste.
- Manage dangerous waste syringes with needle attached as dual waste.
- Manage all chemotherapy containers as dangerous waste or under the guidelines in the NIOSH Alert: Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings.