Reduction of Total Waste Volume
A landmark agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), set a goal of achieving a thirty-three percent (33%) reduction in total waste volume in all hospitals by 2005 and an overall goal of achieving a fifty percent (50%) reduction by 2010.
The SafeSnap® syringe is the only safe needle device approved both as a safety syringe and a self-contained sharps container, thereby facilitating reduction in total waste volume in all hospitals, thereby reducing the amount of plastics going to land fills and becoming the only environmentally friendly option available.
In addition to providing reduction of total waste volume in hospitals the SafeSnap safety syringe provides a safe and convenient method of disposal for patients who are managing their own healthcare (e.g. diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, HIV, Hepatitis C, osteoporosis, infertility, vitamin administration) by self injecting medication at home. The Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal recently indicated that 7.8 billion used needles are disposed annually outside the traditional healthcare setting. The majority of these self injectors are disposing their used syringes directly into the household garbage. This poses a serious threat of needlestick injuries and infections from accidental exposure to used syringes to environmental service workers and the general public.
The State of California was the first to pass legislation, see below, that prohibits the disposal of used needles into the household garbage. Seven additional states have passed similar legislation.
SB 1305 – The Medical Waste Management Act
On September 1, 2008 a new law became effective in the state of California, SB 1305 – The medical Waste Management Act.
Currently between 8 and 9 million Americans are self-injecting medication at home. The majority of these used needles are being thrown into household trash receptacles.
Nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes. In a study conducted by diabetes educators, 93% of the individuals polled stated that they place their used needles in the trash.
Other conditions that require self-administered injections include osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, migraines, cancer and psoriasis. Patients also self-administer blood thinners, growth hormones, infertility treatments, vitamin b12 and allergy shots.
SB 1305 defines “home-generated sharps waste” as hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medications derived from a household, including a multifamily residence or household.
On or after September 1, 2008, home-generated sharps waste shall be transported only in sharps containers or other containers approved by the enforcement agency, and shall be managed at any of the following:
- A household hazardous waste facility pursuant to Section 25218.13.
- A “home-generated sharps consolidation point” as defined in subdivision (b) of section 117904.
- A medical waste generator’s facility pursuant to Section 118147.
- A facility through the use of a medical waste mail-back container approved by the department pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 118245.