Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.

  • New Pharmaceutical and Home-Generated Sharps Waste Rulemaking to Begin this Fall

    picture of needles and medications being properly disposed in containers.

    Every year, Californians use hundreds of millions of medical sharps such as syringes and lancets, and they obtain hundreds of millions of medical prescriptions. Improperly disposed medications can threaten the environment, wildlife, waste handlers, and the public through water contamination, inadvertent needle sticks, and drug abuse. State  lawmakers have offered a solution by passing Senate Bill 212 (Jackson, Chapter 1004, Statutes of 2018), the Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship Act. 

     Under SB 212, sharps and pharmaceutical waste will be regulated through a product stewardship program under which producers bear the physical and financial responsibility for proper end-of-life management of these products. The law requires the creation of a mail-back program for needles and the establishment of convenient collection receptacles for covered drugs. Covered drugs include brand name or generic drugs that are sold, offered for sale, or dispensed in California in any form, including prescription and nonprescription drugs approved by the FDA.

     This fall, CalRecycle will begin the formal rulemaking process for the new law, which involves developing regulations for the safe and convenient collection and disposal options for home-generated pharmaceutical drugs and sharps. The department will set public comment periods and schedule public hearings for stakeholder input as part of the rulemaking process.

     CalRecycle’s regulations must be in place by Jan. 1, 2021, and consumers can expect to see take-back programs in place in late 2022 or early 2023. Producers have until July 2021 to submit stewardship plans, first to the Board of Pharmacy and then to CalRecycle, that describe how their programs will work and meet the requirements of the law. The length of the approval process will depend on whether the submitted plans sufficiently meet all statutory and regulatory requirements. 

     Current state law (H&SC §118286) makes it illegal to dispose of home-generated sharps waste (hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medications) 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. However, medical waste is still improperly disposed throughout the state. SB 212 aims to make proper disposal more convenient for Californians.

     Stay informed by visiting CalRecycle’s SB 212 rulemaking webpage and subscribing to CalRecycle’s Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship Listserv.


    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Oct 3, 2019

  • Spotlight: 5 Projects, Laws, and Programs to Watch in 2019

    CalRecycle has a busy year ahead as we work to protect public health and the environment. Check out these new projects, laws, and programs, and stay tuned for regular updates.

    CalRecycle’s Role in Wildfire Debris Cleanup and Recovery

    California suffered several significant wildfires in 2018, and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services tasked CalRecycle with overseeing the cleanup at the Woolsey and Hill fires in LA and Ventura counties and the Camp Fire in Paradise (Butte County). Read about the cleanup process at our Wildfire Debris Cleanup and Recovery webpage, and check our dashboard maps (Woolsey-Hill fires map and Camp Fire map) for the latest updates.

    New Recycling and Disposal Facility Reporting

    Former Governor Edmund G. Brown signed AB 901 (Gordon, Chapter 746, Statutes of 2015) into law to change how the management of organics, recyclable material, and solid waste are reported to CalRecycle. While the statewide waste characterization reports help CalRecycle better understand the composition of our waste streams, these new reports will help CalRecycle better track and analyze the flow of materials throughout California. CalRecycle will transition away from the current Disposal Reporting System (DRS) to the new Recycling and Disposal Reporting System (RDRS). The registration period for entities required to report via RDRS begins April 1. CalRecycle is scheduled to host workshops on March 20 and 21 to help reporting entities understand their obligations under the new system. See the Recycling and Disposal Facility Reporting AB 901 webpage.

    Statewide Expansion of Organics Recycling

    SB 1383 builds upon California’s leading commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by reducing the amount of organic waste sent to landfills. The regulations will go into effect in 2022, and the formal rulemaking process is underway. Check out the Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP): Organic Waste Methane Emissions Reductions webpage to learn more about the intent of the law. Check out our SLCP rulemaking webpage for more information.

    Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship

    Unwanted and improperly managed pharmaceutical drugs and needles (often called “sharps”) present significant public health, safety, and environmental problems at the end of their useful lives. In 2018, Brown signed SB 212 (Jackson, Chapter 1004, Statutes of 2018) into law to establish safe and convenient disposal options for pharmaceutical drugs and home-generated sharps waste. CalRecycle started the informal regulatory process in January 2019. Read more at the Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship webpage.

    Sustainable Packaging for the State of California

    Brown also signed into law SB 1335 (Allen, Chapter 610, Statues of 2018) , which prohibits food service facilities located in a state-owned facility, operating on or acting as a concessionaire on state-owned property, or under contract to provide food service to a state agency from dispensing prepared food using food service packaging unless it is either recyclable, reusable, or compostable. The first step to implementing this law is clarifying what is reusable, recyclable, or compostable through the regulation process. Read about the law on the Sustainable Packaging for the State of California webpage. The first informal rulemaking workshop is April 10.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Mar 21, 2019

  • What Are You Doing with Your Old Meds and Sharps?

    How much do you know about medical waste? Check out this video to find out if you are disposing of your old medications and sharps properly.

    YouTube Link to Video About Medical Waste Meds and Sharps
    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Jan 12, 2017