CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors has passed legislation
) requiring sharps manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies who
produce and distribute medicines that require home injection to submit and
implement a comprehensive plan for safe disposal of consumer-generated sharps
waste. Sharps waste includes medical devices with sharp points or edges that
can cut or puncture the skin, such as needles, syringes, and lancets, that are
necessary for patient care outside of traditional healthcare settings.
is a common-sense law that simply requires the manufacturers of sharps to take
responsibility for funding and publicizing a disposal program,” said Supervisor
Ken Yeager, who originally proposed the sharps ordinance. “This ordinance will
both prevent injuries and assist in stopping the spread of infections and
disease, while also helping to keep Santa Clara County clean and pristine.”
Producer Responsibility” law, requires sharps manufacturers to
develop and fund a free, comprehensive program to safely collect and dispose of
consumer-generated sharps products. This would include nearly 100 disposal kiosks
located in pharmacies, law enforcement facilities, community centers, senior
centers and other convenient locations. In addition to the disposal kiosks,
there will be many hundreds more locations where residents can pick up a prepaid
sharps container for free mail-back along with online mail-back services for
homebound residents. Outreach and publicity in the native languages of Santa
Clara County’s diverse population is a further requirement of the law.
“Safely removing used sharps from our environment and waste stream
necessitates a targeted customer-centered convenient collection system, and
this ordinance takes us in that direction,” said Consumer and Environmental
Protection Agency Director Jo Zientek.
It is estimated that more than 1.7 million sharps products are
generated each month in the County of Santa Clara with that number expected to
grow with more home injectable products being introduced each year. While it is
currently illegal for sharps products to be disposed of in garbage or recycling
bins in a home, there remains limited community awareness or access to easy
Improper and unsafe sharps disposals can transmit potentially
infectious pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C to those who unintentionally
come in contact with improperly disposed sharps. Increased access to proper
sharps disposal opportunities will reduce the health risk for our neighbors,
coworkers, friends and family in our community working in solid waste
facilities, recycling centers, home health care, senior centers, custodial
services and many more.
This ordinance builds upon the County’s success of the existing
Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance, first passed in 2015 and revised in 2017, which
provides safe, free and convenient drop-off of unwanted or expired medications.
With 57 medicine disposal kiosks currently operating in pharmacies and law
enforcement facilities and approximately 100 expected by the end of 2018 along
with numerous mail-back envelope pickup locations, residents have increasing
opportunities to protect human health and the environment. The County of Santa
Clara is on track to have more take-back locations for meds than any county in
California. For a complete list of medicine disposal locations visit
SCCMEDS.ORG or HHW.ORG and to find regular sharps disposal ordinance updates
and kiosk and mail-back locations as they are added, visit HHW.ORG or call
(408) 299-7300 during business hours.
ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA
The County of Santa Clara government
serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa
Clara County, the fifth largest county in California. With a $6.5 billion
budget, more than 70 agencies/departments and 20,000 employees, the County of
Santa Clara plans for the needs of a dynamic community, offers quality
services, and promotes a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. The County provides essential services including public
health and environmental protection, medical services through Santa Clara
Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), child and adult protection services,
homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, parks, libraries, emergency
response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under
threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and scores of other services,
particularly for those members of our community in the greatest need.
Visit us at:
Media Contact: María Leticia Gómez/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Roger Ross, Consumer & Environmental Protection Agency, (408) 918-4620.
Posted: March 7, 2018