The Romeoville Police Department has become the first in Will County to expand its Pharmaceutical Take-Back program to include needles, or “sharps.”
“Sixteen Will County police departments and the Will County Sheriff’s Department have partnered with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Land Use Department’s Resource Recovery and Energy Division to provide places to safely dispose of unwanted medications,” said Marta Keane, Will County Land Use Department’s Recycling Specialist.
The Illinois Environmental protection Agency (IEPA) invited Pharmaceutical Take-Back partners to add used needle collections, which must be collected separately from medication. The Romeoville Police Department is the first in Will County to join the program, offering a separate collection container in its lobby.
Illinois law allows needles used by residents, such as those used for diabetes and hormonal treatments, to be placed in the garbage when inside of rigid containers. It is recommended that the containers be taped closed and labeled “do not recycle” in case they are separated from the garbage.
However, in response to constituents’ requests for ways to safely dispose of bio-hazard materials separately, the IEPA established a service through its Pharmaceutical Take-Back Hazardous Waste Disposal program to treat and dispose of used needles.
“The needles are not recycled,” said Keane. “They are treated to remove the bio-hazard material and then placed in the landfill.”
Keane said she hopes other police departments in the county will be joining the program soon, making this a service available to more Will County residents.
For additional information about the program go to http://www.willcountygreen.com/greenguide/pharm.aspx .