How can I safely dispose of syringes?

This applies to Home Generated Medical Waste only.

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

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 their way to the landfill.

  • 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.
  • Label / Warning Place a large label with a warning on the empty container. Example: Syringes-Do Not Recycle
  • Needle Clipper Clip the Needle. You can buy an inexpensive handheld 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.
  • Seal Seal the bottle tightly with its original lid and wrap duct tape over the lid after you fill the bottle with syringes.
  • 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.

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