Where can I recycle medical sharp needles?
Health Care Facilities
Sharps containers represent one of the largest pieces of the medical waste “pie.” In one average hospital alone, nearly 13 tons of plastic are incinerated annually in the form of sharps containers.

Reusable sharps containers offer an alternative that can divert millions of tons of plastic from incinerators, where harmful chemicals can be released into the atmosphere.

Reusable sharps containers are steam sterilized at high temperatures and pressure in autoclaves that renders any potentially hazardous or infectious waste inert. Medical waste from these sharps containers will go through the same process which allows this material to be safely transported as non-hazardous waste to landfills.

Also, there are currently options available that offer containers with up to 25 percent recycled plastic for use in medical facilities.

Individual Home Injectors
Current U.S. EPA guidelines suggest disposing all sharps (needles, lancets and syringes) in a secure household plastic container or coffee can with a secure lid, although it is prudent to check with your local waste management department as this is not legal in some states.

Community Collection Sites
Sharps users can take their filled sharps containers to appropriate collection sites such as doctors’ offices, hospitals or pharmacies. Services are usually free, so be sure to check with your pharmacist or other health care provider for availability in your area.

Check with your local waste provider to find if sharps are collected at hazardous waste sites.

Mail-Back Programs
These programs allow sharps users to place their used sharps in special containers which can then be returned by mail to a collection site for proper disposal. Fees vary, depending on the size of the container. Again, check with your health care provider, pharmacist, yellow pages, or search the Internet using keywords “sharps mail-back.” These programs are especially well-suited for rural communities that do not typically provide a medical waste pick-up service

Syringe Exchange Programs (SEP)
Sharps users can safely exchange used needles for new needles. Contact the North American Syringe Exchange Network at 253-272-4857.

At-Home Needle Destruction Devices
There are several products manufactured that allow the self-user to safely destroy used needles at home. These devices sever, burn or melt the needle, rendering it safe for disposal. Please check with your pharmacist or search the internet using keywords “sharps disposal service.

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