California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Household Hazardous Waste: Sharps Events

Meeting Notes, August 25, 2008: Sharps Stakeholders (SB 1305)

Jim Cropper, CIWMB

  • Reviewed CIWMB outreach and implementation efforts (website, poster, mailer, listserv).

Will the CIWMB be updating its list of participating pharmacies in preparation for September 1, 2008 ban?

  • Yes. It will be updated on a regular basis, but not sure of the frequency.

Will these outreach materials be made available to pharmacies to hand out to patients?

  • We will try, but we have a limited budget. We will make them downloadable.
  • Comment from a Workshop Attendee: The type of container must be approved by the local LEA medical waste program and does not have to be a red biohazard rigid container only.

Are you providing regulatory guidance on becoming a consolidation point?

  • As long as the LEA approves the containers, they are considered approved. They must be packaged in secondary containment for treatment or autoclaving. If the heat cannot penetrate the container, then you have untreated medical waste.

Larry Broussard, Assemblyman Swanson’s Chief of Staff on AB 501

  • Wanted to provide a way for consumers to dispose of pre-filled sharps.
  • Pre-filled sharps are 20 percent of all sharps and growing to 30 percent.
  • Pharmaceutical companies wanted a way to inform consumers, provide consumers a safe disposal method, and provide a coupon or website to get containers.

When will pharmaceutical companies need to comply?

  • The law would go into effect in January 2009. We may have to do follow-up legislation if it is determined to be necessary.

William Worrell, San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority

  • Developed first mandatory retail take-back for sharps.
  • Mandatory take-back program has a $1,000/day civil penalty by IWMA or cities or counties can enforce it themselves.
  • When grant funding has run out, the retailers are responsible for the costs of the program. At that time pharmacies will have to sell the containers to the public.
  • The costs are $1.30 per container and $40/pick up to service each site. Stericycle charges $40-$50 for a regular stop or $50-$70 for a stop that is not normal.
  • SB 1179 established a means for pharmacies to take back needles for exchange programs.
  • Board of Pharmacy--No authority for pharmacies to take sharps back, but this will not be enforced.

Lesli Daniel, Calaveras County

  • Developed a committee to work with other counties to collect and dispose of sharps called the Sierra Sharps Coalition.
  • Held stakeholder workshops and tried a subscription approach with community hospitals and clinics. We were concerned about cost and not volume.
  • Missed the CIWMB HHW grant cycle, because we couldn’t find a collector/hauler that would serve their rural counties due to higher costs and low volume. We went to 20 pharmaceutical companies to try to fund a pilot program, but there were no takers.
  • Will not advertise the September ban. We will continue to accept sharps at HHW facilities, but without advertising. We need funding through EPR. CPSC Board approved legislation for next year and they are looking for co-authors. They will propose a short list of products to begin with and will include sharps.

Heidi Vert, Shasta County

  • The Shasta County Health Department provided $300,000 for sharps program.
  • Shasta County Health Department purchased kiosks and placed them at recycling centers. Sanitech Services the kiosks regularly. They have been very successful and have only had a few incidents of vandalism and tampering.
  • We have collected ~2,000 pounds of needles by the end of the year.
  • It costs $7,000 per year for servicing 16 kiosks.

Funding Options:

Steve Hernandez, CIWMB

  • HHW 17th cycle. On August 26, 2008 the second set of questions and answers will be on the internet.
  • Application deadline for HHW grants will be extended to September 22, 2008.
  • Individual jurisdictions can receive $250,000 and multi-jurisdictions can receive $400,000.
  • EPR and take-back programs are options that don’t have the $40,000 collection container limit. The grants can cover mail-back containers.

Jim Cropper, CIWMB

  • Provided Robert Turner’s program cost calculator tool for diabetics only.
  • Provided a list of potential funding sources (i.e. storm water and waste water funds, utility bills, and HHW grants).

Are transfer stations and other facilities going to be expected to pull out sharps from waste?

  • No, but if they are pulled out they will need to be disposed of properly.

Kathy Frevert, CIWMB

How would a fee be assessed at point of manufacture with producers outside of California?

  • It would be assessed at the point where it was brought into California.

Sharps Stakeholders Meetings

Last updated: September 26, 2008
Used Oil & Household Hazardous Waste Program,
Contact: (916) 341-6507