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

  • New State Laws Affecting CalRecycle--and You

    CalRecycle staff has been busy preparing to meet the department’s new statutory responsibilities. Here are the top new laws that CalRecycle will be helping to implement.

    Sharps and Pharmaceuticals EPR Program

    SB 212 (Jackson, Chapter 1004, Statutes of 2018) establishes the nation’s first extended producer responsibility program for sharps and pharmaceuticals. Much like CalRecycle’s current stewardship programs for paint, mattresses, and carpet, responsibility will be placed on manufacturers to participate through stewardship organizations (likely at least one for pharmaceuticals and one for sharps) to design, fund, and implement a take-back program for their products. CalRecycle will have oversight and enforcement responsibilities, which will require coordination with the Board of Pharmacy and possibly other state agencies. 

    Recyclable Food Service Packaging

    SB 1335 (Allen, Chapter 610, Statutes of 2018) requires vendors at all state agencies, facilities, and properties to use food service packaging that is reusable, recyclable, or compostable. SB 1335 authorizes CalRecycle to define “reusability,” “recyclability,” and “compostability” in the regulations, which take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

    Increased Compost Use in California

    AB 2411 (McCarty, Chapter 238, Statutes of 2018) adds to the provisions of the 1989 Compost Market Program by requiring CalRecycle to develop a plan to increase compost use for slope stabilization and for establishing vegetation during its wildfire debris cleanup efforts. It also requires CalRecycle to work with Caltrans to identify and implement best practices for cost-effective compost use along California highways. CalRecycle must review these best practices every five years and update them as needed.

    Recycling Center Reverse Vending Machines

    AB 2493 (Bloom, Chapter 715, Statutes of 2018) extends more flexibility related to the operation of reverse vending machines in California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program. Key changes address requirements for hours of operation and staffing hours, among others.

    Environmental Education

    SB 720 (Allen, Chapter 374, Statutes of 2018) reaffirms the state’s commitment to environmental education. It also directs that climate change be incorporated into the Environmental Principles and Concepts, which are the foundation for CalRecycle’s Education and the Environment Initiative curriculum.

    Lithium-Ion Battery Advisory Group

    AB 2832 (Dahle, Chapter 822, Statutes of 2018) requires CalEPA to convene an advisory group to review and advise the Legislature on policies related to the recovery and recycling of lithium-ion batteries sold in electric cars in California. The advisory group, which includes CalRecycle, must submit policy recommendations to the Legislature that help ensure most lithium-ion batteries in California are reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.

    Food Recovery: California Climate Investments

    AB 1933 (Maienschein, Chapter 808, Statutes of 2018) makes clear that the recovery of food for human consumption is an acceptable form of organic waste diversion eligible for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund grants and loans. In addition to providing clear authority for CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program, the law also broadens the scope of projects eligible for CalRecycle climate investments. 

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Dec 31, 2018