2014 – S 2520 SUBSTITUTE A

Enacted 06/05/14

S E N A T E   R E S O L U T I O N


Introduced By: Senator William A.Walaska

Date Introduced: February 27, 2014


WHEREAS, Rhode Islanders with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, allergies, and arthritis rely on needles, syringes, and lancets – collectively known as "sharps" – to help manage their health at home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than three billion disposable needles and syringes and 900 million lancets each year are used at home in the United States; and 

WHEREAS, Although many people take appropriate precautions when they dispose of the sharps they have used in their homes, too often these devices end up included in household trash or recycling bins, which can put others at risk through needle pricks and exposure to infections; and

WHEREAS, A number of states have put into place programs that allow home users to safely dispose of sharps. Hazardous waste sites, residential pick-up programs, neighborhood drop boxes, and mail-back programs all represent effective approaches to the disposal of sharps that are used in homes; and

WHEREAS, In Rhode Island, the state Department of Environmental Management and the Department of Health have recognized the growing need to inform the public about safe ways to dispose of sharps. Working together, these state agencies have created a guide for the safe disposal of home-generated medical waste; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island has an opportunity to build on the experiences of other states and the outstanding efforts of our state agencies, by exploring a coordinated approach to safe sharps disposal; and

WHEREAS, The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Commission (RIRRC) is responsible for managing the Ocean State's solid waste and recyclables. Staffed by a cadre of landfill management and recycling professionals, RIRRC is a natural starting point in the state's efforts to increase public safety through an environmentally safe sharps disposal program; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby respectfully requests that RIRRC plan and carry out a pilot program that will allow home users of sharps to safely dispose of these devices; and be it further

RESOLVED, That this Senate hereby respectfully requests that RIRRC begins the pilot safe sharps disposal program on or before July 1, 2014. RIRRC is asked to monitor the use of the program and provide a written report to the Senate on or before January 1, 2016, that documents the program's design and operation and provides recommendations for funding and further improvement; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Governor, the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Commission, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health.

LC004764/SUB A