Environmental Protection

Fairfield, Calif., to Collect Home Sharps

On Sept. 1, a new state law will go into effect that prohibits the disposal of home-generated sharps waste in the trash or recycling containers and requires that all such waste be transported to a collection center in an approved sharps container. This includes hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for medication administration.

California residents generate an estimated 400 million used sharps each year, many of which are improperly disposed of as household trash. This presents a great risk to sanitation and sewage treatment workers, janitors, housekeepers, and children. In addition to the pain of a needle-stick injury, people exposed to sharps can contract life-altering diseases such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B or C.

Sutter Regional Medical Foundation recently installed a Stericycle sharps disposal kiosk to provide residents with a safe, convenient resource to deposit needle waste. Residents must first put used needles in an FDA-approved plastic container (a rigid plastic container with a lid). When full, the sharps containers can then be deposited in the kiosk at no charge.

Solano Garbage Company's Household Hazardous Waste Facility will also begin collecting sharps during the regular collection conducted on the second and fourth Saturday of the month.

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