Due to the pandemic, disposal sites may be temporarily closed or altered their hours. We recommend calling or visiting the program website.
These containers, such as milk or water jugs, are not recommended because their thin plastic isn't usually puncture resistant. Used sharps should be placed in a strong, plastic container, such as a laundry detergent bottle, to promote safe disposal.
SafeNeedleDisposal.org does not provide shipping boxes or prepaid labels to return sharps containers. We are an information resource for home-generated sharps disposal and community-sponsored sharps disposal locations. You will need to follow your state guidelines for disposing your container or bring your container to a disposal location, if available in your area.
SafeNeedleDisposal.org does not pick up sharps containers. We are an information resource for home-generated sharps disposal and community-sponsored sharps disposal locations. If you are disabled or have a medical condition that prevents you from going to a disposal site, contact your local health department and ask for information on medical waste disposal companies that provide pickup services.
SafeNeedleDisposal.org does not provide sharps containers. We are an information resource for home-generated sharps disposal and community-sponsored sharps disposal locations. Sharps containers are available for purchase at retail pharmacies and medical supply stores.
Most states allow patients to place their used sharps in a sturdy, puncture-resistant plastic container with a screw top lid, such as an empty bleach or laundry detergent bottle. Please review your state guidelines on our website.
SafeNeedleDisposal.org cannot register or license sharps collection programs. You will need to contact your city or county health department. State waste agencies may also be able to provide information on the requirements for your area.
Businesses, healthcare facilities and pharmacies typically fall under regulated medical waste disposal laws. The specifics can vary by state but these facilities are often required by law to contract with a medical waste disposal company to dispose sharps.
SafeNeedleDisposal.org recommends contacting your state waste agency for more information and referrals to medical waste disposal companies. Please call our helpline at 800-643-1643 if you need further assistance.
Unless otherwise mandated, retail and mail-order pharmacies do not take back full sharps containers for disposal. These facilities are required by state law to pay for their medical waste disposal and usually cannot take containers from the public.
Some retail pharmacies provide sharps disposal mail-back kits, which include a sharps container, return shipping box and prepaid mailing label. Ask your pharmacist if this service is available.
Unless otherwise mandated, healthcare facilities and fire stations typically cannot take full sharps containers for disposal. These facilities are typically required by state medical waste laws to pay for their own medical waste disposal and usually do not have the resources to take containers from the public.
Some areas have HHW facilities and collection events that accept home-generated medical sharps. Check with your city or county solid waste department to find out if these facilities or collection events are available in your area and inquire if they accept sharps. You can also use the ZIP code search on our website to look for programs in your area.
A Container Exchange Program involves going to a facility to obtain an approved sharps container and in some cases, sign up for the disposal program. You bring your container to your home and deposit your used sharps into the container. When the container is full, you return to it to the facility and it will be exchanged for a new container.
In many cases, you must use the container the program provides. Always contact the facility to confirm their requirements.
Mail-Back programs provide sharps disposal kits, which include a sharps container, return shipping box and prepaid label. Retail pharmacies, medical supply stores and waste haulers provide these kits for purchase. Some pharmaceutical companies provide mail-back programs for injectable medications. For a list of these programs, click on the Solutions tab on our website.
Please note that the return shipping box and prepaid label is for the specific size and weight of the sharps container provided. You cannot send other containers or request different sized return boxes. Furthermore, to use the pharmaceutical mail-back programs, you must have a valid prescription and be actively taking the injectable medication.
State guidelines for home-generated sharps disposal are also applicable for pets.
A used syringe that has been needle-clipped may be disposed of in your regular trash. When your needle clipper becomes full, it should be disposed of according to state or local guidelines.
If you find a loose syringe on the ground, contact your city health department or law enforcement agency. They typically have the equipment to safely handle the syringe and means to dispose of it properly.
We first recommend contacting your local police or sheriff to find out if they are able to collect the container. If local law enforcement agencies cannot take such items from private property, the container should be disposed of according to state guidelines for safe needle disposal.
We first recommend contacting one or more of the following: your city or county health department, police or sheriff, state legislators and state waste agencies.
Waste generated by home healthcare aides or nurses in private households is usually considered the responsibility of the company providing the home care services. However, the amount of used sharps waste may be small enough to be considered “home-generated,” in which case the state guidelines for home-generated sharps may be followed. It depends on how frequently the client needs to receive injections and what he or she is being treated for. Another factor is the size of the business and how many clients are being served. Contact your city health department or state waste agency to confirm medical waste disposal laws for home healthcare companies.
We do not have specific information on recycling foam (aka Styrofoam) containers. It is recommended that you contact your city/town to find out if there is a collection program in your area. The website, homeforfoam.com, maintains a directory of recycling locations.