Medical Sharps Disposal
Over 3 billion needles are thrown into the trash each year by individuals treating in their homes chronic diseases such as diabetes. Even if first placed into a secured container, these containers break open when the trash truck compacts them. Workers are stuck with the needles and must go through months of testing for HIV and hepatitis because they don't know where the needles came from, or what diseases they may carry.
SB 1305 is a bill authored by Senator Figueroa which revised a section of the State of California Medical Waste Management Act to make it a violation of state law for home-generated sharps waste to be placed in solid waste collection containers, including recycling and green waste containers. SB 1305 also requires sharps waste to be transported in approved sharps containers and managed by a specified facility (i.e., household hazardous waste facility, medical waste generator facility, or a facility managed as part of a mail back program). SB 1305 was approved by Governor Schwarzenegger on July 12, 2006 and took effect on September 1, 2008. Read More.
There are two ways that people can legally dispose of sharps waste:
- Purchase a mail-back sharps container (some pharmacies also carry these). These approved containers come with a prepaid box to mail the container back.
Alameda County residents can now dispose of their own home-generated “sharps” waste safely, conveniently, and FREE at any of the following Alameda County’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facilities. For more information on the sharps disposal service, visit Alameda County Sharps Disposal Service.
Needles and Other Sharps: Safe Disposal Outside of Health Care Settings
- Safely Using Sharps (Needle & Syringes) (Website)
This website gives tips for safely disposing needles and other sharp devices that are used outside of health care settings. Patients and caregivers should keep these tips in mind when at home, at work, and while traveling.
- Safe Disposal Outside of Health Care Settings (PDF)
- National Drug Take Back Day, Permanent Collection Sites, and Safe Disposal (Website)
List of locations to dispose of at pharmacies