Washington residents – except for residents of Seattle and Snohomish County – may place used sharps in a strong, plastic container – like a laundry detergent or bleach bottle – seal container with duct tape and label DO NOT RECYCLE. Place in the trash, not the recycling.
Sharps that retract after use, or are very small, should be disposed of like all other sharps.
If you would like to bring your sealed container to a community sharps disposal program, there are drop-off locations in several counties.
See disposal locations
Please note that SafeNeedleDisposal.org is not affiliated with these facilities or programs. Contact the individual facility to confirm hours of operation and requirements.
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In 1991, the City of Seattle passed an ordinance (115983) regulating home generated sharps waste, amending Seattle Municipal Code Section 21.43.010.G and Section 21.43.040K: “Home generated sharps are exempt from other provisions of Section 21.43 if prepared for disposal by a means that protects medical handlers, solid waste workers and the public from injury. The disposal of home generated sharps shall be limited to: a. Depositing sharps at a medical facility which has agreed to accept home generated sharps. b. Depositing properly contained sharps at a pharmacy that provides a program to dispose sharps waste that meets the requirements of these regulations. c. Depositing properly contained sharps in the designated sharps disposal receptacles (barrels) at the Seattle North and South Transfer Stations. d. Acquiring a pickup service from an infectious waste transporter permitted by the health officer. f. Other methods approved by the health officer.”
For all other communities, the Washington Department of Ecology does not provide written recommendations for disposing of home-generated sharps. However, individuals are responsible for ensuring that their used sharps are stored in a way that does not cause a health hazard.