No needles in the trash starting Monday |

No needles in the trash starting Monday

Come Sept. 1, people using hypodermic needles can no longer put them into their trash.

California is among a small but growing number of states trying to get needles out of the waste stream. An estimated 3 billion needles and syringes wind up in the trash or flushed down toilets, according to Waste Management Inc., which serves western Nevada County.

“This improper disposal puts sanitation workers and the public at risk of needle sticks and serious infections,” Waste Management officials said. “The new (state) law will prohibit needles in any household waste, including recycling or green waste bins.”

Waste Management is working with a private company, Sharps Compliance Inc. of Houston, to help people find a safe way to get rid of their needles. For a charge, Sharps will mail out containers with return postage pre-paid. When they are full, people can return the containers by U.S. Mail, and Sharps will destroy them.

Prices range from $33.62 for a quart container, containing up to 70 needles, to $82.50 for a 3-gallon container, containing up to 720 needles, said Sharps spokeswoman Bergundi Walker.

Some doctors are providing postage-paid disposal containers for free, Walker added. But she urged people to beware: Some companies provide disposal containers, but no way to get rid of the containers once they’re full.

To see Sharps products, visit and click “Products.” They cannot be purchased online; call Sharps toll-free at 1-877-927-8363.


To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail or call 477-4230.

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