Nearly two years into a state-funded grant project, Yolo County shows promising results from its pilot project to collect “sharps” from Yolo residents. The county was awarded $213,000 from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to establish a collection system for sharps and to educate residents and other stakeholders about product stewardship.
Yolo County used grant funds to purchase sharps containers to give out to the public as a way to educate sharps users about how and where they can dispose of sharps. Limited quantities of the free sharps containers remain, but most pharmacies and drug stores sell sharps containers. Residents can dispose of sharps at the county’s Household Hazardous Waste collection facility at the Yolo County Central Landfill on any Friday and Saturday from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm.
As part of the pilot project, county staff collected survey responses from individuals that received free sharps containers. Sharps users were given the choice of either a mail-back container with pre-paid postage that could be mailed to a medical waste management firm, or a container that could be dropped off at community sites including the Yolo County Central Landfill. To date, Yolo County has collected nearly 1,500 pounds of sharps through this pilot project, which equates to approximately 82,000 needles. More than 80 per cent of survey respondents state they believe the manufacturer should be financially responsible for their products at the end-of-life and 74 per cent state that the cost of disposal should be included in the cost of the product. Respondents are divided on the most convenient method of return, with a slight majority showing a preference for drop-off locations in the community.