(September 4, 2018) – NACWA and many of its California public member agencies signed a letter of support for California state legislation that would establish a producer-funded take-back program for the disposal of pharmaceuticals and sharps used in homes. On August 31, SB 212 Solid Waste: Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship, passed both the California Assembly and Senate, and it will now need to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown to become law.
Lack of appropriate disposal options for leftover prescription and over-the-counter medications can lead to drug abuse and cause accidental poisonings, and medications that are flushed may pass through wastewater treatment facilities and be discharged into the environment. Sharps that are flushed present a risk of injury for wastewater workers. SB 212 requires manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and sharps to create, fund, and participate in a statewide take-back system. Nine counties and three cities in California already have take-back laws in place.
Pharmaceutical take-back bills were also successful in New York and Washington this year. NACWA members with an interest in pharmaceutical and sharps take-back programs should contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.