California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Household Hazardous Waste: Sharps Events

Meeting Notes, March 17, 2008: Sharps Stakeholders' (SB 1305)

Do we have any data on the amount of Sharps used from animals?

  • No.

Is there an ordinance available?

  • You can check with Santa Clara County.

How does the public know about SB 1305?

  • No answer.

Some question of farm-generated or other animal sharps.

  • Jeff Lin will follow up with CIWMB legal--concerns over small farms and home generated animal sharps.

Michelle, Placer County--Can State work at corporate level? (Retail)

  • Robert Turner, Marin County--Has 30-some-odd retailers participating--can happen.
  • Karl Schumman Beckin/Dickenson (sp?), member of safe needle coalition looking at getting retailers involved kiosks, mail-back, CVS in Rhode Island; $ from State grant and Eureka found. Thinks majority of people with Diabetes get their sharps at pharmacies.

Marin, how much does their program cost?

  • $1,000/month--Disposal Collection.
  • $1,000/month--Containers ($4-$4.50/ container).
  • $24,000/year--Funded through HHW Program # served?

Is the intent for sharps to come back to pharmacies?

  • Integrated program with many options.

Can hospitals accept sharps from public?

  • Ron Pilorin, CDPH: Yes, but many are reluctant due to liability issues. They must include the program in their MWM Plan. Some hospitals think they cannot accept from public.
  • Christina Mille, Tehama County, accepting sharps would bump the hospital up to a large quantity HW Generator.

Jack McGurk, how much did Lake County pay?

  • $16/container.

Where do the sharps go?

  • Carthage, Texas for incineration or autoclave.

Which retailers/pharmacies participate?

  • Many…$81 to pick up containers (tubs) from Walgreen’s. Some sites have full bins; depends.

Ousmane Sy, does pharmaceutical waste get mixed in with sharps waste?

  • Cannot say for sure, but has not been an issue.

Ousmane Sy, what do mfgs do?

  • To date, nothing. Include costs in garbage rate: $80,000/ year for SF Program.

Why do the hospitals pay?

  • Their costs for this program are insignificant compared to their other costs.

Kari Holmes, are other Sutter facilities participating?

  • Not yet. Kari, in contact with other med. facilities in Vacaville.

Has anyone had negative reactions from hospitals?

  • Robert Turner, have had good luck with pharmacies.
  • Jack, some hospitals had improper disposal by people bringing them back and not knowing where to take them. Good idea to put take-back instructions on container.
  • Tom Erickson:
    • In MN, MPCA, Board of Pharmacists and American Diabetes Association: convenient drop-off and free sharps containers.
    • Legislature will make it illegal to dispose of sharps in waste stream.
    • Sharps mfg responsible for making free containers available.
    • Pharmacies are supportive as a way to get foot traffic back up.
    • Looking at a $5.00 core charge.
    • At 100 percent compliance: 50,000 containers/month at $1.50/box for pick up and autoclave and LF, i.e., $5 core charge (would be returned) plus a $2 disposal fee.

Is there periodic testing of autoclaves?

Could they be melted and reused?

  • They are multi-material. Not much metal.
  • In Sonoma County, Walgreen’s stopped pilot project due to people using drugs in parking lot.
  • Similar issues in SF, but worked with partners to increase education and outreach has seen a decline since.
  • Tehama County beginning a program modeled after Shasta County placing containers at recycling centers based on study results (among other sites).
  • Use label on sharps containers (at purchase) that gives disposal information.
  • Marin County: ‘Fit Packs’ of 10 clean syringes in a labeled container.

Has the CIWMB taken a position on AB 501 and try to get producer response back?

  • Can’t say. Jack M, this has raised awareness of issue.


  • Contact hospitals, etc. in your area.
  • Suggest public education through garbage bills, pharmacies, local newspapers, via groups such as National MS Society, sharing of best practices.
  • Utilize existing infrastructure (hospitals, pharmacies).
  • Sonoma County holding local stakeholder meetings trying to get vets to send patients home with containers.

March 2008 Agenda | Sharps Stakeholders Meetings

Last updated: May 14, 2008
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