New Law Prohibits Needles and Medical Sharps in Trash

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, September 1, 2008

The new law makes it illegal to throw things like hypodermic or I.V. needles in household trash and recycling containers.  Jim Cropper is a specialist with the California Integrated Waste Management Board. He says instead those items—referred to as “sharps” must be taken to approved collection locations—like local household hazardous waste facilities.

“We’re finding more and more locations that are willing to start programs and local government has done a tremendous job getting pharmacies and local hazardous waste facilities and hospitals to collect sharps”

The law also requires sharps to be put into approved containers for transport such as biohazard boxes. Cropper says the law came about largely to protect sanitation workers who could be stuck by the items. It’s estimated there are more than 300 million household sharps generated in California every year.