General InformationThe Problem
There exists in the United States a critical public health problem: limited options available for the safe disposal of used needles and other sharps in the community at large. Safe disposal of these needles will protect workers and the public from unnecessary injury and possible infectious disease transmission. In efforts to educate the public about this issue and effective alternative solutions to discarding used sharps into the solid waste system, a coalition of concerned organizations including business, associations, and government agencies was formed, called the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal (referred to throughout the document as “the Coalition”). More>>>
Types of Sharps Disposal Programs
Drop Box Collection Points:
Community drop-off sites, located in pharmacies, police and fire departments, and public drop boxes.
Sharps users can take their filled sharps container to appropriate collections sites, which may include doctors’ offices, hospitals, health clinics, pharmacies, health departments, community organizations, police and fire stations, and medical waste facilities. These programs often give self-injectors the option of continuing to use empty household containers to collect sharps, but prevent the sharps from entering into the household waste stream. Most states don’t offer these types of programs, but they are the most cost effective for the end user. States where these programs are readily available include Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and Florida. More>>>
Background InformationNeedle Use
A meeting called Safe Community Syringe Disposal: Understanding the Barriers and Creating Solutions was held in Washington, D.C. in January 2001. This meeting brought together key representatives from professional associations, industry, government, and public health. More>>>