Sharps & Medication
Household Hazardous Waste
Sharps Waste Disposal
- Pharmaceutical manufacturers' sharps plans have been published as required by Senate Bill 486.
The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is working to help develop a safe, convenient, and cost-effective infrastructure for collecting and properly disposing of home-generated sharps waste. Decreasing the number of sharps disposed in landfills will help prevent potential health risks to landfill and material recovery facility workers. CalRecycle's Waste Prevention Information Exchange, Health Care Waste at Home provides more information about how to appropriately manage other health care waste at home. You may also want to consult with the California Department of Public Health, which regulates medical waste (see definitions below) through their Medical Waste Management Program.
- Household Sharps Waste Disposal. Learn how to safely dispose of your home-generated sharps waste.
- Sharps Manufacturer and Collector Resources. Resources to help sharps manufacturers and collectors implement safe and efficient collection and disposal of home-generated sharps.
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Sharps Disposal Plans. Learn about the law, SB 486, and view a list of manufacturers' sharps collection and disposal plans that CalRecycle has received.
A 2008 study titled, Characteristics of persons and jobs with needlestick injuries in a national data set, (J. Paul Leigh, PhD, et.al) suggested that "nationwide each year 25 percent or roughly 150,000 to 200,000 needlesticks occurred outside the health services industry for a cost of $38 million."
Hundreds of needles found at a Clark County Recycling Center
Video, Fox 12, Oregon, 2 min, 36 sec.
Section 117671 of the California Health and Safety Code defines "home-generated sharps waste" as hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medications derived from a household, including a multifamily residence or household.
Home-generated sharps waste is considered medical waste once collected at a point of consolidation. Section 117690 of the California Health and Safety code defines "medical waste" in part as,"... waste which is generated or produced as a result of...the accumulation of properly contained home-generated sharps waste that is brought by a patient, a member of the patient's family, or by a person authorized by the enforcement agency to a point of consolidation approved by the enforcement agency pursuant to Section 117904 or authorized pursuant to Section 118147".
Beginning on Sept. 1, 2008, state law (Section 118286 of the California Health and Safety Code) makes it illegal to dispose of home-generated sharps waste in the trash or recycling containers, and requires that all sharps waste be transported to a collection center in a sharps container approved by the local enforcement agency.
For More Information
Stay informed about the latest developments in CalRecycle’s efforts to promote safe disposal of sharps waste.
- Listserv: To receive periodic information about sharps, subscribe to the Sharps and Medication Disposal Listserv.
- Contact: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or more information.
Sharps Waste Disposal Program http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/HomeHazWaste/Sharps/
Medication Waste Disposal http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/HomeHazWaste/Medications/