OTTAWA, Sept. 10, 2014 - Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) is pleased to announce that Residents of Ontario returned 750 tonnes of pharmaceuticals and sharps from households for proper disposal between Oct. 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013. Almost 90% of the unused/expired pharmaceuticals and used sharps were returned by residents to retail pharmacies registered as collection locations in the Ontario Medications Return Program (OMRP) and the Ontario Sharps Collection Program (OSCP). The two programs are the first and only extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs to be regulated under the Ontario Environmental Protection Act and are administered by HPSA on behalf of the health products industries.
HPSA's network of almost 3,400 community pharmacy collection sites across Ontario accepted 407 tonnes of pharmaceuticals and 259 tonnes of sharps from residents and managed the disposal in a safe and secure manner. HPSA also provided close to 200,000 free sharps containers to Ontario residents. The size of the HPSA collection network allows for convenient consumer access which results in improved safety in the home, helps prevent misuse of drugs, keeps drugs and sharps out of municipal curbside collection and keeps pharmaceuticals out of wastewater treatment systems.
Municipalities collected 60 tonnes of pharmaceuticals and 24 tonnes of sharps in the same time period but now face a funding shortfall with the cancellation of the municipal funding program which reimburses costs to municipalities for managing six household hazardous wastes including pharmaceuticals and sharps. HPSA recognizes the role of municipalities and according to HPSA Executive Director Ginette Vanasse, "We understand that many municipalities allow residents to bring their pharmaceuticals and sharps to household hazardous waste depots. We are actively engaging these municipalities to have industry take responsibility for these materials and transition them to the industry-run retail pharmacy collection network now that their provincial funding is ending."