Support for LA County Sharps Collection and Disposal ordinance

Support for LA County Sharps Collection and Disposal ordinance

Proposed by Fitzsimmons / SORO NC on March 15, 2017
Motion failed to be adopted by a majority of Councils before the June 2017 deadline

Passed by

  • Brentwood Community Council
  • Palms Neighborhood Council
  • South Robertson Neighborhoods Council
  • Venice Neighborhood Council
  • Westside Neighborhood Council


The_________Neighborhood/Community Council supports creating a county-wide stewardship program for the safe and convenient disposal of unwanted medicines from households. Ensuring easy access to collection sites providing secure and environmentally sound disposal of leftover medicines and sharps will reduce risks of medicine abuse and poisonings, help prevent dangerous and costly needle sticks, and protect our waterways and environment. We support the provisions of the 1/5/16 draft language, and strongly urge the county to adopt this legislation.


Please see the attached summary of the proposed LA County ordinance that would create a collection and safe disposal system for medication and sharp medical items.

The 1/5/2016 draft ordinance includes the following key provisions:

  1. Residents throughout the county will have access to a secure collection system for all unwanted medications and sharps used in the home, with convenient collection sites distributed throughout the county, as well as options for prepaid mailers upon request.
  2. All unwanted medications used in homes, for people and pets, will be accepted, both prescription and over-the-counter, and including prescription drugs that are controlled substances.
  3. Manufacturers of medicines and sharps have the primary responsibility for secure collection and safe disposal of their products as a cost of doing business. Visible fees cannot be charged to consumers at point of purchase or at disposal. This approach recognizes that industry has a key role in managing the society impacts and end-of-life consequences of their products, and that externalizing all the costs onto other stakeholders and local governments is not fair or sustainable. Manufacturers can include the modest cost of a safe take-back program – a penny for every $10 prescribed as stipulated in the Alameda Supreme Court case – in the cost of medicines and sharps without significantly impacting consumers.
  4. Security protections are required that will give consumers confidence that the take-back system for their leftover medications and sharps is safe and confidential.
  5. Manufacturers must promote the stewardship program to residents and the health care community, and expressly discourage the stockpiling of unwanted pharmaceuticals/sharps and discourage disposal into the trash or by flushing into a sewer.
  6. The ordinance requires secure handling and environmentally sound disposal of all collected pharmaceuticals and sharps in compliance with all relevant state and federal regulations.
  7. The stewardship plan review process includes public comment opportunities and gives the county the option of forming a technical advisory committee to assist with plan review to ensure local stakeholders are heard in the planning process.
  8. The ordinance has a clear definition for “Responsible Steward” that focuses responsibility on the manufacturer of the medicine or sharp, and also clearly defines who the county can hold responsible as the steward if the manufacturer cannot be identified.

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