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County offers new sharps disposal program

Items must be disposed of properly to avoid injury, contamination

Amid a report of a Covid outbreak within the Hollister Fire Department, San Benito County orders all EMS and fire employees to get vaccinated.

New and improved safe disposal for household sharps and medication are now available in select locations in San Benito County, according to a press release. 

It is estimated that 1 million Californians inject medications, using around 936 million sharps at home in California every year. San Benito County residents also contribute to that total.

Some examples of sharps are: 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, according to county officials. Disposing of sharps and medication through your curbside collection program with Recology is prohibited, as used sharps pose a danger to all employees involved in the waste stream. Improperly disposed of used sharps can injure individuals and spread infections that cause serious health conditions such as: Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Immediately after use, sharps should be placed in an approved sharps container available at no cost and by request from the San Benito 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. 

When utilizing a laundry detergent container for used sharps disposal, county officials advise placing a label stating, “DO NOT RECYCLE: HOUSEHOLD SHARPS,” on the container. The lid should be secured tightly and sealed 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, and obtain a free container replacement, at the following sites:

– Aromas Water District, 388 Blohm Ave, Aromas, CA 95004. Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9am – 5pm.

– Monthly Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event at John Smith Road Landfill. Free monthly disposal at John Smith Road Landfill, 2560 John Smith Road, Hollister CA, continues to remain available to San Benito County residents. Event occurs the third Saturday of every month from 9am – 12pm. Proof of residency is required.

– San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, 2301 Technology Parkway, Hollister, CA. Hours: Monday – Friday from 8am – 5pm.

The county also offers medication drop-off bins at the following locations: 

– Hollister Police Department, 395 Apollo Way, Hollister, CA. Hours: Monday 9am – 5pm, Tuesday to Thursday 8am – 5pm, Friday 8am – 4pm.

– iCare Pharmacy, 920 Sunnyslope Rd, Hollister, CA.  Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm.

– San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, 2301 Technology Parkway, Hollister, CA. Hours: Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm.

Residents may also obtain a Free Medication Mail-Back Envelope for safe medication disposal available at all local pharmacies and at San Benito County Public Health Services Office (351 Tres Pinos Rd. A-202 Hollister, CA 95023) open Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm. 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.