Free Needle Disposal for West County Residents
August 19, 2002
West Contra Costa residents who take insulin injections for their diabetes will soon have access to a unique program that will provide for free needle disposal.
A pilot program for disposing needles (or sharps) of West County diabetes patients has been launched by Contra Costa Environmental Health, West Contra Costa Integrated Waste Management Authority and West County Resource Recovery.
"The unsafe disposal of needles can pose a risk to waste handlers or to others. Our program is one of the very few in the state that safely disposes of this household waste for residents," says Alicia Enriquez, Senior Environmental Health Specialist of Contra Costa Environmental Health.
Enriquez says the new program will allow West County residents to call toll free 1-888-412-9277 to request a special sharps container, which will be mailed to them. Once the container is full and secured, it can be dropped off at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, 101 Pittsburg Avenue, Richmond. The facility is open Thursdays and Fridays, as well as the first Saturday of each month, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed for lunch noon - 12:30 p.m.). The resident will receive a new container after they drop off their full container. Other venues within the county are being explored so that needle disposal will eventually be available to all Contra Costa residents.
"We encourage West County residents who use needles for insulin injections at home to take advantage of the new program, which will reduce the risk of injuries to waste handlers and the amount of potential biological and physical hazards that end up in the municipal waste stream or the environment," says Enriquez, adding that the disposal of needles generated in the home is currently unregulated by state or local laws.
The program is funded this first year through a grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board. West County Resource Recovery, the household waste collection facility in Richmond, will provide staffing and manage the operation.
For more information or to request program brochures (available in English and Spanish), call Mersina Purlantov at 510-215-3104 or Alicia Enriquez at 925-646-5225 ext. 237.
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