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Household Needles and Sharps




Never put a container of sharps in with your recyclables.  SHARPS ARE NOT RECYCLABLE and not only can they pose an infection risk to workers at the recycling facility, they can render the whole batch of recyclables unusable.


  • Used needles and other sharps should never be placed loosely in your trash or flushed down the toilet.  They should always be placed in a rigid container with a screw-on or other tightly secured lid.  You may purchase a commercially available sharps container from a pharmacy or other source. If this is not a viable option, you should use a rigid plastic laundry detergent or empty bleach bottle with a screw top lid or coffee can where the lid can be taped on with duct tape. These are strong enough to prevent the sharps from poking through the container.  Plastic milk bottles are a poor choice because they are generally made of thin plastic that can be easily punctured by a needle or lancet.  Glass should never be used as a sharps container because the glass can break and compound the hazard.  Containers of sharps should be clearly labeled as "Sharps" or "Biohazard Waste."  

  • Once filled, the container should be firmly sealed to prevent accidental tampering.  The sealed and labeled container can then be placed in your regular trash.  Trash that includes a sealed sharps container should be kept out of the reach of children and pets until it can be picked up by your trash disposal service or taken to the landfill. 

  • A variety of products are available that destroy sharps and make them safer for disposal in the trash.  Some of these melt the needle and syringe into a less harmful plastic "puck," and some destroy the needle or otherwise render it harmless.  Sharps destruction units have a higher initial cost, but may be more cost effective in the long run depending on how many sharps you generate.


Household Medical Waste Compliance Bulletin pdf file  

Household Medical Waste Frequently Asked Questions pdf file    


These procedures are intended for used needles and other sharps from a household only.