Anyone familiar with the new California sharps disposal law?

Hi All

Yesterday my diabetes educator told me about a new California law (SB 1305 (Figueroa) Medical Waste Measure) requiring “sharps waste to transported in an approved sharps containers and managed by a specified facility (i.e., household hazardous waste facility, medical waste generator facility, or a facility managed as part of a mail back program).”

In my reading it appears as though this applies only to syringes… But my CDE implied that it also applies to lancets used in blood glucose testing. The law goes into effect on September 1 so I’m trying to find out if I need to package my used lancets in an “approved” sharps container.

Here’s a link


Hi Rich,
What I found here indicates only syringes. However, sounds like tossing in lancets (and sharps related to insulin pumps too) into the same sharps container would have you covered, just in case.

Hi Manny

Yes, I think that’s the right thing to do. Since I don’t use insulin I have no syringes. The sharp’s containers are probably inexpensive and my CDE said I could take the filled container to a fire station or a hospital (free of charge).


The containers are cheap, possibly free from your doctor. And I believe your doctor’s office may take the container back from you free of charge. If not, contact your insurance to see if the fees are covered.

I have a huge sharps container that came with a non-diabetes injectable medication and I can’t imagine I will fill it up any time soon!

Actually, there are several resources available on safe sharps disposal which may be of interest. Two of my favorite are as follows:

Safe Needle Disposal
Established in August 2002, the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal is a collaboration of businesses, community groups, non-profit organizations and government that promotes public awareness and solutions for safe disposal of needles, syringes, and other sharps in the community.

Handle With Care: How To Throw Out Used Insulin Syringes and Lancets
A colorful booklet for young people and their families from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about disposal of sharps.

If I am not mistaken, I believe that California law also specifies that all hospitals and nursing homes in the state must accept sharps containers from patients with diabetes. Some may even provide empty sharps containers, but if they don’t, definitely ask your doctor. All doctors offices have them and its the least they can do by providing them to their patients … no patient should be forced to buy them in a drugstore.

Most states have an agency to which inquiry can be made. Here in New Jersey, syringes and needles must be handled as sharps, but strips and lancets can be discarded as normal garbage. Medical sharps are supposed to be delivered to a needle-exchange facility – but only three hospitals in the entire state are part of this program. sigh

I just received this document from a representative at the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

He also confirmed that this ALSO applies to lancets. (378 KB)

It’s really good to have verification on this! The pdf even has a link to a Medical Waste Disposal Directory for home generated medical waste that lists all California counties.

Many thanks!

I also just realized that the costs of these containers and disposal is eligible for reimbursement through my Flexible Spending Account at work.

This is a good thing!

I don’t live in CA but live in Ohio, called around and was told as long and I have a sharps container, I could put the container in the dumpster at my apt complex. It has to be clearly marked, I have a rather large one, which only cost me 8 dollars. The smaller one I had was for my sharps, now I use needles so needed a bigger one. I put everything related to my diabetes in the sharps container, my lancets, my needles, my prep pads and any out of date insulin. The waste management office said this was fine as long as it is clearly marked and closed.

Isn’t interesting, in many areas CA requires that you seperate your recyclable trash and they give you a BIG bin to put it in. They want your green waste in another, so they give you a Big GREEN bin to do so. Neither of these items will harm anyone if they accedently come in contact with it. BUT, when it comes to the new sharps Bill they don’t consider forcing the wast management systems to provide appropriate containers!!! I am looking for people who would support a modification to the Bill that would include a method of disposal that would not require users to spend MORE money to dispose of our sharps. Anyone interested?

Mississippi health told me to throw my sharps in a milk jug and then put them in the trash.

The bill was passed in 2006 and went into effect on September 1 of this year. While what you say makes sense, I’m not sure it’s possible to modify a law already on the books… perhaps the assembly would consider a bill to provide sharps containers (along with disposal) to us free of charge.

That said, I located an pharmacy here in Monterey which will dispose of the filled containers for free if one purchases containers (~$5.00) from them.