|How to Properly Dispose of Sharps|
On September 1, 2008 it became illegal to dispose of sharps (needles & lancets) in the household garbage or recycling. All sharps (both from humans and animals) must be placed in a medical sharps container and taken to an official drop-off location. Sharps containers are affordable and widely available at local drug stores. NEVER PUT SHARPS IN A RECYLING OR TRASH CART
What are sharps?
Hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medications and for the removal/testing of blood/blood products.
What is Senate Bill (SB) 1305?
SB 1305 is a bill that was signed by the governor in July 2006. It regulates how sharps waste generated by self-medicators is to be managed after September 1, 2008.
The bill: Requires sharps waste to be transported only in a sharps or other approved containers, and forbids the disposal of sharps into containers used for the collection of solid waste (i.e., household trash), construction and demolition debris, greenwaste, or other recyclable materials. This bill does not require the County, or other California jurisdictions, to implement regulations or fine individuals that do not adhere to the requirements of SB 1305. The intent of SB 1305 is keep sharps out of the solid waste stream and, therefore, help prevent the deposition of sharps in landfills.
When does/did this new law go into effect?
This law went into effect on September 1, 2008.
What is an "approved" sharps container?
The United States Food and Drug Administration has authorized specific containers to be marketed as "medical devices" for the management of sharps (sharps containers). These approved containers have the following characteristics: they are closable, resistant to punctures, properly labeled as bio-hazard/sharps containers, leak proof on the sides and bottom and upright, and stable during use.
Currently, the only approved containers for the management of sharps waste are manufactured by companies in the medical field. These should be easily recognized by the labeling provided. Approved containers usually have a bio-hazard warning and are red.
What happens if I don't comply with SB 1305?
Fines for illegal dumping can reach $10,000 under State law, and responsible parties may be liable for State and local cleanup and abatement costs, as well as local penalties. A person who knowingly discards sharps waste in a park, playground or on public or private school grounds is subject to legal action and, upon conviction, is subject to a fine and imprisonment.
Why you should never put sharps in a recycling cart.
Recyclables must be sorted by hand. Any sharp placed in your recycling cart/bin can stick a worker or puncture his or her gloves.
See guidelines below for the proper disposal of sharps.
The Proper Way to Dispose of Sharps
By state law it is illegal to discard your sharps (needles and lancets) in household (or commercial) recycling or garbage.
They must be placed in a certified sharps container and dropped off or sent to facilities licensed to handle biohazardous materials. Local and nearby dropoff sites include the following:
- Alamo Sheriff's Substation - 150 Alamo Plaza, Suite C, Alamo
- Benicia Fire Station - 150 Military West, Benicia
- Clayton City Hall - 6000 Heritage Trail, 2nd Floor, Clayton
- Delta Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility, 2550 Pittsburg-Antioch Hwy., Pittsburg
- Lafayette Fire Station - 3338 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette
- Moraga Fire Station - 1280 Moraga Way, Moraga
- Mt. View Sanitation District - 3800 Arthur Road, Martinez
- Orinda Police Department - 22 Orinda Way, Orinda
- Rossmoor Medical Center Pharmacy - 1220 Rossmoor Pkwy., Walnut Creek
- San Ramon Fire District - 1500 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon
- Walnut Creek City Hall - 1666 N. Main St., Walnut Creek