The following is reprinted from the New
York State Department of Health web site at
Household Sharps - How to Dispose of them
Millions of people use syringes, needles, and lancets to manage their care at
home. These syringes, needles, and lancets are called household sharps.
Household sharps must be properly stored and then discarded after use to:
Protect children, pets, and workers who handle trash from illness
Prevent re-use of sharps and sharing of needles that can transmit
Protect the environment.
Keep sharps out of household trash and recycling bins.
You can bring your used sharps to any hospital or nursing home in New York
State. Just call for information on days, hours, and location of the sharps
disposal program. Ask your health care provider, local public works department,
sanitation department or trash collector about how and where to dispose of
sharps in your area.
How to Store Your Sharps
Follow these guidelines to safely store used sharps in your home until you are
able to safely discard them:
DO put used sharps (needles, syringes, and lancets) in a sharps
container or a puncture-resistant, plastic bottle (for example, a bleach or
laundry detergent bottle). Close the screw-on top tightly. You may want to tape
it as well. Label the bottle, "Contains Sharps".
DO keep sharps containers away from children and pets.
DO put used sharps immediately into your container. Keep the
container closed between uses.
DO bring your container with you when you travel, and dispose of
it at home when you return.
DON'T flush sharps down the toilet or drop them into a storm
DON'T clip, bend, or recap sharps.
DON'T put sharps containers out with the recycling. Loose needles,
syringes, or lancets should never be thrown into a recycling bin.
DON'T put sharps in soda cans, milk cartons, glass bottles, or in
any containers that are not puncture resistant. Coffee cans are not recommended
because the plastic lids come off too easily and may leak.
How to Dispose of Your Sharps
There are different ways to safely dispose of sharps, needles and
lancets. Here are the best ideas for safety, health and protection of the
Call your health care provider, pharmacy or clinic to find out the
days and times that local hospitals or nursing homes accept sharps for disposal.
Ask your diabetes educator or local American Diabetes Association
chapter about sharps collection programs in your area.
Call your local public works department or trash collector. (Check
the blue pages of the telephone book for their numbers.) Some communities have
special household medical waste collection or drop-off days.
Call your local health department and ask for the health educator.
Ask about sharps collection programs in your county.
Request either a statewide listing of
Household Sharps Disposal sites or certain counties
Sharps Are Not Recyclable - Do Not Put the Sharps Container out
with the Recyclable Plastics.
For more information, write to:
New York State Department of Health
Empire State Plaza, Box 2000
Albany, NY 12220
The NYSDOH publication "New York State Directory of ESAP Providers & Community
Sharps Disposal Sites" contains locating information for household sharps
disposal sites statewide for user by service providers and consumers. Organized
by county, the listing of community disposal sites for household sharps
identifies location where hypodermic needles, syringes, lancets and other sharps
used outside of health care settings can be brought for safe disposal.
The statewide listing of sharps disposal sites may be ordered by calling
Nancy Brandt at (518) 473-7542