Los Angeles residents will no longer be allowed to dispose of home-generated sharp items in the regular trash under a new State Senate bill that took effect September 1st.
Senate Bill (SB) 1305 prohibits disposing of home-generated sharp items — known as “sharps” — such as needles (hypodermic and suture), syringes, lancets, endo files and pre-filled pens; or flushing the items down a toilet, according to the city Bureau of Sanitation.
Instead, all sharps items should be brought to a SAFE (Solvents, Automotives, Flammables and Electronics) Collection Center or Mobile Collection Event for proper disposal, and to ensure that they do not harm humans, animals and the environment.
The improper disposal of sharps poses a serious risk of injury and infection to unsuspecting sanitation workers, family members and animals at home, in the workplace and in public areas, sanitation bureau officials said.
Improperly discarded needles can also transmit various blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. Bureau of Sanitation director Enrique Zaldivar said that discarding sharps directly into the environment and through the regular trash can “bring the material full circle right back into our homes.”
Once discarded in the regular trash, contamination can find its way into landfills where it can leach through the soil into underground springs and waterways or groundwater, which is a source of the city’s drinking water, he said.
“We are reaching out to all doctors’ offices, medical establishments, pharmacies, retail store distributors of sharps, veterinary offices, hospitals, health and diabetes clinics and drug counselors to form partnerships to assist in the safe collection of sharps from residents and to create an infrastructure to make it convenient for residents to safely dispose of their sharps,” Zaldivar said.
Board of Public Works president Cynthia Ruiz added, “We urge residents to properly dispose of their sharps at our SAFE Centers located throughout the city and at our Mobile Collection Events.”
A SAFE Center located within the Argonaut coverage area is at the Hyperion Treatment Plant, 7660 W. Imperial Highway, Gate B, Playa del Rey. The facility operates from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Information on hazardous waste disposal, www.lacity.org /SAN/index.htm/ or (800) 988-6942 (800-98-TOXIC).