Thanks for the suggestions... here's what I have learned:
The disposal of sharps by home users varies by state. Only in California and Wisconsin is it illegal for home users to discard used syringes in the regular trash. In other states, that is legal, though not necessarily safe or responsible in my opinion.
The manufacturer of the sharps container we have is BD. The BD website (BD Diabetes) is geared for home users and gives a decent breakdown by state.
My state allows home users to discard their sharps in a plastic container or metal cannister (coffee can, milk jug, laundry detergent bottle), secure the lid and put it in the regular trash.
However my local authority differs and the county specifically says there is to be no medical or biohazard waste included in home trash. However, they do not offer an alternative solution.
Addtional tips/instructions from BD indicate that you are not to re-cap your syringe before disposal. You are supposed to deposit the uncapped needle into the container and then add bleach to the container when it's full and ready for disposal. Presumably this is to sterilize the needles should someone get stuck. Sorry, that doesn't make me feel any better.
The mailback sharps containers are probably best for my situation-- that is I can't conscientously put these out on the curb in a neighborhood full of kids. However the mailback service is expensive, not covered by insurance and not FSA eligible. But, until there is a better solution, that is probably what we are going to do.
In the meantime, MY allergist (not my husband's neuro) agreed to take the container for us and lauded me for trying to do the right thing -- although that's going to cost him money. Doctors typically won't take them back because they pay by the container for sharps disposal.
I'm appalled by the lack of regulation in this area. I'm surprised the garbage collectors don't demand safer conditions. In our area, they have just started strictly enforcing recycling laws. I don't want someone well-meaning to mistakenly take that container from the trash and put it into the recycling. Nor do I want to leave these on the curb. The whole thing is just.... wrong.
The insurance company's mail order pharmacy provides a regular 1.5 quart BD sharps container (costs about $5). Compare that to the same size container in a heavier plastic wth mailback privileges at a cost of $40 out of my pocket. Wrong.
Avonex might want to consider a program for patients to establish a program to address this. I'd be more grateful for this service than all the marketing tchotchkes.
I hope this helps another newbie out there:
http://www.bd.com/us/diabetes/page.aspx ... 2&id=10284
http://www.bd.com/us/diabetes/page.aspx ... 02&id=7415
Unfortunately the clips container shown (a good idea) is not compatible with the size needles on the Avonex syringes.
I am definitely bringing this to the attention of my local and state officials.