Needles and Sharps

Alternative ways to recycle
Illegal in Garbage & Drains
Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Special Instructions

It is illegal to put sharps in the trash and recycling. (Workers get hurt!)

To dispose of needles and sharps, place them in designated sharps containers and bring them to a hazardous waste facility.  Here is a listing of locations to drop off medicine and/or sharps.  

If you don’t have access to a designated sharps container, you can use a #2 sturdy laundry detergent bottle as long as the cap is secured and clearly marked as “SHARPS”.  (Only large and sturdy bottles that keep the needles from poking out).

Contact at CalRecycle for inquiries:

[email protected]

 

Mail-in collection programs — see below for details.

needle-caps

Do Not Recap

To avoid injuring yourself from needle pricks, do not put needle caps back on needles.

Never Throw Away

Do not throw needles or sharps in the trash. They put sanitation workers, friends and family at risk of needle pricks, which can cause infection and injury.

lancet

What Is Considered a Sharp?

All of the following must be disposed of as sharps waste: hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets and other devices that are used to break the skin of people and animals.

Alternative Ways to Recycle

Mail-Back Programs for Injectable Pharmaceuticals

Mail used sharps and pens back to the manufacturer of injectable pharmaceuticals. The following manufacturers accept sharps waste generated from their products: Enbrel® (Amgen)Neulasta® (Amgen)Novo NordiskOrencia® (Bristol-Myers) and Simponi® (Janssen Biotech, Inc.).

stericycle-logo

Stericycle® Mail Service for Home Sharps

Stericycle runs a sharps container mail-back service for small quantity generators of waste. They include bar-coded waste shipping containers, prepaid and pre-addressed shipping labels and prepaid disposal and tracking. Visit Stericycle’s Mail Back Solutions page here.

republic-services

Republic Services Mail-Back Service

Republic Services offers a mail-back service for managing home-generated medical waste. Visit republicsharps.com.

MedPro

MedPro Mail-Back Disposal

MedPro offers various sizes of mail-back sharps disposal systems, starting with 1.2 gallon containers. All containers are mailed to recipients via USPS with a prepaid return slip and proof of destruction manifest. Visit MedPro’s sharps disposal page here.

GRP Mail-Back Sharps Container

GRP and Associates offer a mail-back sharps disposal service. They will mail you a sharps container, which you package and mail-back to them. Visit their page on sharps mail back here.

Ways to Reduce

unopened-sharps

Return Unused Sharps to a Needle Exchange Program

Instead of dropping off unopened sharps at a disposal facility, consider taking them to a needle exchange program, such as MedShare. Find the nearest program.

Did You Know?

How Sharps Affect Sanitation Workers

Disposing of sharps isn’t always convenient. At the same time, sharps in the trash and recycling pose a huge health risk to sanitation workers. If workers come across a needle hidden in trash, they can get struck and have to wait up to a year to know if they’ve contracted a blood-borne virus, such as hepatitis, tetanus, HIV/AIDS or syphilis.