Knowledge Base

How can I safely dispose of syringes?

Category: Other Inquiries

This applies to Home Generated Medical Waste only. 

Several options are available to safely dispose of used syringes generated in the home.

Safe Syringe Disposal Program-The New Jersey Hospital Association together with local hospitals offers a program to safely and responsibly dispose of syringes, needles and lancets generated in the home.  Participating hospitals offer rigid containers to dispose of these items for a small one time fee to individuals who are injection dependent.  (This program does not require needles to be clipped prior to placing them in the container).  The container must be returned to the hospital when full for proper disposal and will be exchanged for a new empty container at that time.  The following are participating hospitals in Mercer County:
                       Environmental Service, Capital Health System at Mercer, Trenton  (609) 394-4184
                       Joan Gilliard, Secretary, University Medical Center at Princeton, Princeton  (609) 497-4266

Physicians-Ask your physician if she/he will take your used syringes once they are properly placed in a container.

Local Health Departments-Ask the Health Officer of your local health department if there are any syringe disposal facilities in your area. The Hamilton Township Health Department is located at 2100 Greenwood Ave. Hamilton NJ 08650.  Phone number 609-890-3820.

Household Waste-Follow these steps to safely dispose of your syringes in your municipal trash.  Your syringes must be placed in rigid containers that will protect people from needle sticks and use containers that are unlikely to break open on its way to the landfill.
1.  Rigid Container  You may use empty laundry detergent bottles or 2-liter soda "pop" bottles or other rigid containers with screw-on caps to dispose of needles and syringes.  Check with pharmacy.  Ask if it sells commercial containers specially designed to hold sharps for disposal in your household trash.
2.  Label/Warning Place a large label with a warning on the empty container.  Example: Syringes-Do Not Recycle
3.  Needle Clipper Clip the Needle.  You can buy an inexpensive hand held needle clipper from the pharmacy.  Using anything other than a clipper to break a needle is not safe.  After clipping the needle, carefully place each of your used needles and syringes into a plastic bottle with a screw-on-lid.  To the extent practicable, the individual receiving the medical treatment should clip the needle and syringe and place them in the container.  In cases where this cannot be done due to the limitations of that individual, and a family care giver or volunteer must perform this activity, it is recommended that the individual's physician be consulted first.
4.  Seal  Seal the bottle tightly with its original lid and wrap duct tape over the lid after you fill the bottle with syringes.
5.  Disposal  You may now dispose of the tightly sealed full container of syringes in your household garbage-NOT in your recycling bin.  Remember, although you may feel healthy, your used syringes can transmit germs.  In addition, loose syringes thrown in your trash can seriously hurt people.  We all benefit from the safe disposal of syringes.  Please do your part to help keep our environment clean and safe.

For additional information, you may visit the websites listed below or contact:
NJ Dept of Health and Senior Services, Consumer and Environmental Health Services, Public Health Sanitation and Safety Program.  Telephone (609)588-3124 
NJ Dept of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Resource Recovery & Technical Programs, Division of Solid & Hazardous Waster, Regulated Medical Waste Program  Telephone (609) 984-6620
United States Environmental Protection Agency  (212) 637-3000

Updated 8/31/2017 11:27 AM
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