Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Visalia lets residents dispose of needles for free

Getting rid of needles just got easier in Visalia. The city is accepting home-generated medical sharps at quarterly Dump On Us events for free.

The county had a program to take needles for free but state funding ran out. It’s illegal to put needles in the regular trash.

Dump on Us lets Visalia residents toss out old junk for free, and now there’s a separate line to accept needles and lancets, which must be in an approved container.

But the city program is temporary.

Kim Loeb, the city’s natural resources conservation director, said the city is preparing to ask the Visalia City Council to pass an ordinance requiring pharmacies and businesses that sell needles to accept used needles for free.

San Luis Obispo County has a similar ordinance.

It’s an issue everywhere.

Fresno County, including Fresno, has a free needle disposal program twice a year at its household hazardous waste disposal events. But Fresno County will not be pushing an ordinance, said Linda Kline, the county’s recycling coordinator.

Instead, there’s a list of options, including businesses that take needles for a small fee, at the recycling division’s household hazardous waste web page on the county’s website.