Proper & Legal Disposals Of Nicotine Oils

Specific Waste: Nicotine

Nicotine is a chemical on the discarded chemicals list). 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.

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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.

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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) or under the RCRA Characteristics of Ignitability, Corrosivity, Reactivity or Toxicity). 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:.
  • 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.

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]. 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.

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US industry has changed a lot since 1976, when Congress first passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  The US EPA began issuing hazardous waste regulations in 1980 and had largely completed the task by 1994. But as US industry evolves, so must the EPA hazardous waste regulations.
For instance, EPA originally identified cigarette replacements (nicotine patches, gums, lozenges) as acutely hazardous wastes because they were commercial chemical products with sole active ingredients (i.e., nicotine) whose improper disposal was considered a hazard to public health and the environment.  The advent of e-cigarettes, combined with improvements in tobacco technology, has created a niche for the recycling and reclamation of nicotine from cigarette replacements. RCRA Interpretation of New Nicotine Products In May, US EPA responded to two requests for interpretation of the Agency’s standards for recycling new-generation nicotine products under the recently revised rules for hazardous waste recycling (80 FR 1694; January 13, 2015).

Read the EPA’s interpretation on e-cigarettes and nicotine liquid:

Letter to Daniel K. Dewitt of Warner, Norcross, & Judd LLP Letter to Scott DeMuth of g2revolution, LLC When discarded, unused commercial chemical products with nicotine as the sole active ingredient are assigned hazardous waste code P075. E-cigarettes and other nicotine products are delivery mechanisms for nicotine solutions in which nicotine is the sole active ingredient.