Beveridge & Diamond

Proposed California Law Would Require Producer Take-Back of Household Generated Medical Sharps and Syringes

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., March 8, 2010

If enacted as currently drafted, proposed California Assembly Bill 2139[1] would require producers of covered medical sharps[2] to submit a plan to the state by September 30, 2011 to provide collection, transport, recycling and/or disposal services for these used products.  A “producer” is defined to mean either:  the manufacturer of a covered product who sells, offers or distributes the product in California under its own brand or name; or, if there is no such manufacturer, the owner or licensee of a trademark or brand under which the covered product is sold or distributed in California; or, if there is no such person, the person who imports the covered product into California for sale or distribution.

On and after July 1, 2012, AB 2139 would prohibit a producer from offering covered medical sharps in California for sale or promotional purposes unless the producer were party to an approved product stewardship plan.  A producer could either submit its own plan or form a product stewardship organization open to all other producers of a covered product to submit a group plan.  In addition to the requirement that a producer pay all administrative and operational costs associated with the take-back of covered products under the product stewardship plan, AB 2139 would also require a producer or product stewardship organization to submit: (1) a $10,000 administrative fee when the product stewardship plan is submitted; (b) a $1,000 administrative fee each year after the initial plan is approved; and, (c) an annual report to the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (“Department”) on take-back of covered products under the plan.

Under AB 2139, the Department would be responsible for setting a baseline collection rate for each covered product by July 1, 2011.  The required collection rate would be increased from the baseline rate by at least five percent each year, beginning in 2014, until a ninety five percent collection rate was achieved for each product.  The Department would also be responsible for reviewing and approving or disapproving the initial product stewardship plans by January 1, 2012.

Failure by a producer to make a good faith effort to comply with the requirements of the law could result in an administrative civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day.

A link to AB 2139 as introduced is available here:  For additional information on this topic, please contact Laura Duncan (  

[1]  Introduced February 18, 2010 by Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro (D - North Coast).

[2]  “Covered product 1” is defined under the current version of AB 2139 to mean “medical sharps, including hypodermic needles, hypodermic needles with syringes, blades, and needles” that are not subject to a pharmaceutical manufacturer collection plan for household generated needles under California Public Resources Code section 47115 or Part 7, Chapter 1 of the Public Resource Code.  A legislative staffer within Assembly Member Chesbro’s office explained that AB 1879 will likely be amended later this month to clarify the bill’s applicability to all medical sharps generated by households.




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