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The Problem 

Throwing away used medical sharps in the trash, recycling bin or flushing them down the toilet is illegal, as it poses serious health risks to children, sanitation workers, water treatment facility operators and the general public. An estimated one million Californians inject medications, generating more than 389 million used sharps each year.

CPSC is researching the status, convenience and costs of sharps collection programs in California for a white paper and would like to share the following information:

  • table of the 636 locations accepting used sharps with contact information by county, as listed on the CalRecycle website as of 4/9/2014.
  • table of the California counties and cities (including web links) that offer sharps containers at no cost to the public
  • summary of the status of injectable pharmaceutical manufacturers' mail back disposal programs. Seven manufacturers provide no-cost mail back options in California
  • listing of San Luis Obispo County home-generated sharps disposal pharmacy participants

If you have corrections such as additions or deletions to the listings for the information found on CalRecycle's website, please send your updates to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

These pictures from the City of Burbank exemplify the problem. Improperly disposed used sharps in Burbank curbside recycling bins were collected over an eight month period. During this time, two workers were stuck by needles and had to undergo medical testing for infectious diseases. Some of these containers hold thousands of needles, with only a small percent packaged safely.

sharps burbank2sharps Burbank 2012

Workers who sort recyclables by hand are at risk of being stuck by used sharps every day.
By law, sharps must be placed in puncture-proof bio-hazard containers and disposed at a designated sharps disposal site.


This situation poses an opportunity for companies who manufacture sharps and injectable medications to share in the responsibility for these products at their end-of-life to protect public health.


Supporting Sharps Stewardship 

Learn about AB 1893 (Stone, Eggman) Home-Generated Sharps Management

 
Del Norte County

CPSC partnered with the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority (DNSWMA) on a grant to foster more product take-back programs. CPSC and DNSWMA developed outreach materials to educate the citizens of the County on proper sharps disposal and to help them to protect their neighbors and community from needlestick injuries.

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San Luis Obispo County

In 2008 the County of San Luis Obispo adopted a sharps management ordinance, setting up a program for the public to conveniently and safely take back used sharps to a retailer, free of charge. The ordinance places the responsibility of the disposal costs with the sharps manufacturers and retailers. 

City of Sacramento

In 2010, Sacramento adopted a sharps take-back ordinance that required all retail stores, hospitals, and other points of sale or distributors of sharps for home use in the City to take back sharps at no additional cost to the customer at the time of return.

UltiCareUltiCare

UltiCare's "UltiGuard Safe Pack" provides an all-in-one solution that dispenses pen needles or syringes and doubles as a puncture-resistant sharps container. UltiCare is owned by UltiMed, the only sharps manufacturer that only sells sharps with a container for safe disposal, at no additional cost to the consumer. For more information, see their website


What you can do to help - click here!


Articles & Press


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Links

Click here to view Policy & Legislation and Resources for Sharps