The vision for the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) activities related to medication, and where feasible, sharps, is to provide local jurisdictions in California with the tools to implement collection programs as well as work with manufacturers, retailers, pharmacies, hospitals, and other health-related constituents for the proper disposition of medication and sharps in a single location.
Goal for Medication Collection
The goal of CalRecycle's medication activities has been to develop model programs for rural and urban areas that meet established statutory criteria for the collection of unused and expired medication.
Working with External Stakeholders
By working with external stakeholders to review established statutory criteria and other essential elements for a pharmaceutical collection program, CalRecycle was better able to craft a model program that fit the needs of California residents. CalRecycle established the Pharmaceutical Working Group (Working Group) consisting of staff from the California Department of Public Health, the Board of Pharmacy, Department of Toxic Substances Control, and State Water Resources Control Board. On a national and regional level, CalRecycle also worked with the Product Stewardship Institute National Dialogue and the California Product Stewardship Council.
CalRecycle identified programs that meet statutory criteria by surveying existing programs in California, other states, and abroad. Survey results have been summarized and analyzed as to program efficiency, public convenience, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, environmental effectiveness, and efficacy for different populations and population densities. Information from the survey has been incorporated into staff recommendations for model collection program criteria.
CalRecycle determined which programs met the criteria set forth in Senate Bill 966 (Simitian, Chapter 542, Statutes of 2007).
Information Dissemination to Interested Parties
CalRecycle's Medication Waste Disposal page includes a link to a searchable collection database and resources.
Develop Model Program Criteria
On Nov. 13, 2008, the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB, now CalRecycle) approved the criteria and procedures. Additional comments were received at a Dec. 19 workshop and CIWMB adopted the revised criteria and procedures at the Feb. 24, 2009, Board meeting. Please see the Criteria and Procedures Introduction page for these criteria and procedures to be used as guidance documents for pharmacies, businesses, and local agencies interested in collecting and disposing of pharmaceuticals. Collection programs may differ between rural and urban areas. CalRecycle staff track collection program locations and collection data to evaluate amounts and types of pharmaceuticals diverted from waste streams, thus evaluating the effectiveness of the model program criteria.
In preparation for a Report to the Legislature due in Dec. 2010, CalRecycle monitored collection programs during 2009 and 2010 and summarized data such as cost, amounts collected, safety issues, types of populations served, and convenience to the public. A background paper was available prior to the July 20, 2010, public workshop. Public comments were encouraged at any time during the process. The revised background paper incorporates the new information and some stakeholder's comments from the July 20, 2010, workshop. (Revision Jan. 2011)
The final report, Recommendations for Home-Generated Pharmaceutical Collection Programs in California, includes a program evaluation and recommendations for a statewide pharmaceutical program and any potential statutory changes. As requested in SB 966, CalRecycle submitted the report to the Legislature by the requested date.
For More Information
Stay informed about CalRecycle’s latest developments to promote safe medication disposal.
- Listserv: To receive periodic information about medication waste, subscribe to the Sharps and Medication Disposal Listserv.
- Contact: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or more information.