What do I do with...?
Medical Sharps Generated in the Home
Putting sharps into the garbage is a health risk for solid waste workers; a loose needle could injure and possibly infect a worker. There are a number of safe options for disposal of home-generated sharps waste:
- Ask your doctor or other health care provider if you can return used sharps to his/her office or clinic.
- Check with your local pharmacy or waste collection company to see if they offer a sharps management program.
- Some pharmacies will take back full containers of sharps for proper disposal. They all require sharps to be in an approved container for drop-off, but only a few require that you have purchased the container from them. Check with your local pharmacy to see if they offer this service and if there are any fees. For example: sharps containers can be purchased at and returned to Bartell drug stores. See the Bartell Drugs Web site (external) for store location and contact information.
- You can manage your sharps using a sharps mail-in program. In these programs, you purchase a puncture-proof and leak-resistant plastic container. When the plastic container is full, you place it in a pre-addressed cardboard box and mail it. Search on "sharps mail in programs" on the internet for a list of mail-in programs.
- If you live on ______ Island, you can take full 2-liter pop bottles of medical sharps to the ______ Transfer Station, where they will be kept separate from the rest of the waste. To do this, you must first obtain a waste clearance decision.
- For ______ County residents in the ______ area, the ______ Recycling and Transfer Station has a drop-off box for deposit of used household sharps in approved sharps containers.
- For City of ______ residents, the North and South transfer Stations take sharps for free. See the City of ______ Web site (external) for details and other options.
- Although it is the least preferred option, it is still legal to place sharps in a two-liter pop bottle and dispose the bottle in your garbage can. The bottle must be marked, "SHARPS - DO NOT RECYCLE." Two-liter pop bottles have been shown not to crack or break open as often as other containers. This option poses a risk of puncture to solid waste workers. Both the federal Centers for Disease Control and the federal Environmental Protection Agency no longer support this method as preferred due to the risk to solid waste workers.
Can I bring used sharps to Public Health Centers?
Only home-generated sharps may be disposed of at Public Health Centers. Several sites have secure outdoor drop boxes that are available 24 hours a day. This service is available at no charge to Public Health Center patients and to people who inject illegal drugs. The drop boxes are part of Public Health’s disease control program.
Disposal drop boxes are NOT for general medical, dental, veterinary, pharmacy or other commercial or business use.
All commercial and business generators of used sharps and syringes must dispose of them through a licensed biomedical waste transporter or approved treatment method.
- The drop boxes will accept used sharps packaged in safe containers and sharps that are loose. But, it's safer for everybody if you put your sharps and syringes in an approved container, so:
- First: Put your used sharps and syringes in a manufactured sharps container or a 2-liter P.E.T. plastic pop bottle. Make sure the lid fits tightly, then tape it shut for added safety. If you use a plastic pop bottle, label it with the warning: "SHARPS, DO NOT RECYCLE."
- Then: Bring your full container to the drop box site. You are responsible for putting your sharps in the drop box at the site. Your sharps container will not be returned to you.
- If your container is bigger than a 2-liter pop bottle or if the drop box is full, DO NOT cram more stuff into it and DO NOT leave containers or loose syringes sitting out next to the drop box. These practices put others at risk for injury. If your items will not fit in the drop box, please bring them inside to the Health Clinic’s reception desk. If you encounter this problem when the clinic is closed, you may need to return to the clinic and dispose of your sharps during normal business hours in order to assure safety for all.
The health department, no joke, told me to use a milk jug and duct tape it shut, and put it in the regular trash. How on earth is that legal, safe, or sanitary? I don't think so.
MSdetective wrote:The latest shipments are coming through Medco Accredo. These syringes look and feel different. The needle size is the same, but these latest syringes have a visible white line around the base of the needle. Additionally, the cap is soooo difficult to get off the needle.....
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