CalRecycle levy sharps disposal charge on IV drug manufacturers

CalRecycle have put out a message concerning the impending deadline for the registration of IV pharmaceutical manufactures’ who forthwith will be financially responsible for the collection and disposal of used sharps.

That might work, it’s certainly been discussed and planned over a long gestation period. We must hope that it doesn’t prove to be difficult birth and a sickly child.

Senate Bill 486, enacted in 2009, requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to submit to CalRecycle a plan on or before July 1 each year, that describes how the manufacturer supports the safe collection and proper disposal of sharps waste. 

Specifically, in accordance with California Public Resources Code Section 47115, pharmaceutical manufacturers that sell or distribute a medication in California that is usually intended to be self-injected at home through the use of a hypodermic needle, pen needle, intravenous needle, or any other similar device, shall, on or before July 1 each year, submit to CalRecycle a plan that describes how the manufacturer supports the safe collection and proper disposal of the waste devices.  In an effort to ensure that all manufactures selling these medications are operating within compliance of SB 486, CalRecycle is reaching out to known pharmaceutical companies that may be affected by this requirement.  We request that you either:

  1. Notify us if you do not sell or distribute medications in California intended to be self-injected at home through the use of these devices, or
  2. Submit your plan to CalRecycle

As required by law, sharps collection and disposal plans will be posted on our website at: information about the law, including guidance on what should be included in the plan, can also be found at this site.

Plans can be submitted to  If you have questions or need assistance, please contact CalRecycle staff at


Statewide Technical and Analytical Resources Branch
1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

This seems all rather strange. By the same reasoning, we might charge the car and truck manufacturers for the wear and tear to roads, but we don’t.

What seems particularly perverse is that there is no charge on the manufacturer of syringes and needles, or the needle users. Perhaps there should be a need for the peddlers of heroin and steroids now used and abused so widely to register and pay?  Instead, this will be a levy on the legitimate IV drugs, pushing costs ever higher.

It might be most logical to suggest that charges should be levied on the manufacturers or suppliers of syringes and needles, since at least that gets closer to the root of the issue. Go after BD and others who are global players in this important manufacturing sector.

But perhaps the manufacturer is not the best target, maybe it should be further down the chain and the supplier must register and pay? In that case, should not Amazon and Walmart be on that list as they are suppliers of vast numbers of syringes and needles that service the illicit drug use scene? Their contribution might go toward IV drug support charities and the various drugs support groups, to environmental organisations to support and fund the safe and urgent retrieval of discarded drug litter.

Now, THAT really would be worthwhile.

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