Information provided by the County of San Benito
The County of San Benito announced its in-county locations to drop off unused medication and sharps. The safe disposal program for household sharps and medication are available in select locations. The county also provided instructions for safe disposal, details on the risks of improper disposal, and a list of new and previously existing locations to drop off used household sharps and medication in San Benito County.
According to the release, it is estimated that 1 million Californians inject medications, using around 936 million sharps at home every year. Some examples of sharps are as follows: auto injectors, connection needles and sets, lancets, other needles, and syringes. Sharps waste generated at home can be from a variety of acute and chronic medical conditions such as allergies, arthritis, blood clotting disorders, cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, infertility, migraines, and multiple sclerosis.
“Proper disposal of used sharps is vital to the health of the community,” the release said. “Disposing of sharps and medication through your curbside collection program with Recology is prohibited. Used sharps pose a danger to all employees involved in the waste stream. Used sharps that are improperly disposed of can injure individuals and spread infections that cause serious health conditions such as: Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).”
The release continued to state that immediately after use, sharps should be placed in an approved sharps container available at no cost and by request from the San Benio County Integrated Waste Management (SBCIWM). Approved sharps containers are made of puncture-proof plastic with leak-resistant closure.
“If approved sharps containers are unavailable, residents may also use a heavy-duty plastic household container, such as an empty laundry detergent container,” the release said. “When utilizing a laundry detergent container for used sharps disposal, place a label ‘DO NOT RECYCLE: HOUSEHOLD SHARPS’ on the container, secure the lid tightly and seal with duct tape. Sharps containers ready for disposal should be taken to and disposed of in a designated sharps disposal bin or kiosk.”
Residents may drop-off their sharps containers, as well as obtain a free container replacement, at the following sites:
- Aromas Water District
388 Blohm Ave, Aromas.
Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Monthly Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event at John Smith Road Landfill
Free monthly disposal at John Smith Road Landfill (2560 John Smith Road, Hollister) continues to remain available to San Benito County residents.
Event occurs the third Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Proof of residency is required.
- San Benito County Sheriff’s Office
2301 Technology Parkway, Hollister.
Hours: Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Improper and unsafe disposal of unused, unwanted, or expired medications such as flushing them or pouring them down the drain poses public health and environmental risks. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove pharmaceuticals and exposure to even low levels of drugs have negative effects on fish and other aquatic species, and also may negatively affect human health. In addition, throwing medication in your garbage is highly discouraged, as they can be accessed and ingested by small children or household pets. The medication drop off bins are located in the following sites:
- Hollister Police Department
395 Apollo Way, Hollister.
Hours: Monday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesday to Thursday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- iCare Pharmacy
920 Sunnyslope Rd, Hollister.
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m.– 5:30 p.m.
The county said residents may also obtain a free medication mail-back envelope or safe medication disposal available at all local pharmacies and at San Benito County Public Health Services Office (351 Tres Pinos Road. A-202 in Hollister open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Medication mail-back envelopes are easy to use and include paid shipping, simply fill the envelope with medication, seal the envelope, and drop off at your local Post Office.
“San Benito County Integrated Waste Management (SBCIWM) would like to thank the residents of San Benito County for their patience while waiting for these new programs to take effect,” the release stated. “Please note that at this time the Walgreens Pharmacy in Hollister, Paicines General Store, and San Benito County H.O.M.E. Resources Center, Behavioral Health Services, and Public Health Department, are not accepting sharps or medications.”
SBCIWM and the San Benito County Opiod Task Force will continue efforts to implement additional drop off locations and disposal options for household sharps and medication. Residents are encouraged to visit www.cosb.us/medicalwaste for updates regarding the Household Sharps & Medication Safe Disposal Program. For questions call SBCIWM at 831-636-4110 or email at [email protected].