Needles

Disposing of Needles The Right Way

If you use needles and syringes at home for medical or veterinary reasons, you know that disposal can be a problem. Family members, trash haulers and landfill employees are all at risk if the needles are not properly packaged for disposal.

So what is the right way to dispose of used needles and syringes?

  • First, recap the syringe if you can.
  • Next, place the entire syringe and needle in a rigid, leak-proof, puncture-resistant container with a tight-fitting lid. Good containers to use are detergent bottles, fabric softener bottles, bleach bottles, or 2-liter pop bottles. Milk jugs are not recommended because the plastic is too thin. Coffee cans may be used if the lid is securely taped to the can before disposal.
  • Label the container with the word “SHARPS” in big block letters on all sides.
  • When ready to dispose of the container, put the lid on tightly and tape it securely. Dispose of the container with your household trash. Never put needles or medical waste in with your recyclables. Never flush needles down the toilet.

This method only applies to used syringes and needles generated at home by an individual for the purpose of his own care or treatment. Similar infectious waste generated in medical facilities is subject to stringent infectious waste regulations.

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