By Nancy McClew – GRHD Pharmacist
Grand River Health will soon be offering safe disposal of sharps (needles, syringes, lancets) for our community! The need for a safe and secure take back program was realized when community members voiced their frustration by having to throw their sharps into everyday trash since neither the community nor GRHD has a standardized means of accepting sharps for disposal.
Current recommendations for sharps disposal from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is to place sharps into a strong plastic container with a secure lid and to place the container into trash. The Sharps Solution ATP Team has learned this process is neither safe nor secure. After partnering with Garfield County Landfill, we have learned community members do not always place sharps into containers and containers used are often not strong enough to prevent sharps from being ejected from the containers when trash is compacted. Loose and unprotected sharps place landfill workers at risk of injury in addition to placing possible infectious medical waste into the environment.
GRHD is kicking off the disposal program with a Take Back Day. On Saturday, September 22nd from 9AM – 12PM at Grand River Hospital, the community will have to opportunity to dispose of sharps for free. Participants turning in sharps will receive a free one-quart sharps container they can use to safely dispose of sharps in the future at two locations on the Rifle campus. Self-serve disposal kiosks will be located at the clinic and emergency entrances.
The disposal program will begin with the two kiosks and eventually reach further into our community with disposal sites at Clinic West, ED Moore Care Center and possible community sites. The disposal program is a joint venture between GRHD and Garfield County Landfill, each seeing the opportunity as a win-win. A safe disposal program allows the community the opportunity to dispose of sharps so they do not end up in landfills, which in turn keeps landfill workers safer. All sharps received will be incinerated. Funds for the program are currently provided by GHRD’s Caring & Sharing while future grants through Garfield County will be sought to sustain the program.